Space: a new destination for the Quebec market

Philippe Bergeron: Uniktour president to be the first Canadian to experience a suborbital space flight this December

MONTREAL, Feb. 1, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Uniktour, a leading travel agency and tour operator specializing in custom travel in faraway destinations, announced today that it has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Xcor Aerospace and Space Expedition Corporation (SXC) for the distribution of suborbital flights in the Quebec market. Quebecers can now reserve their place for a unique adventure on a flight to space's frontier, where they will be able to experience weightlessness and admire the Earth's curvature at an altitude of 62KM above the earth. Philippe Bergeron, founding president of Uniktour, will become the first Canadian to experience a suborbital flight when he takes off in December 2013. Sylvain Bélair, executive director of the Cosmodome, is Uniktour's first customer to confirm his seat on board a suborbital flight in 2014.

Space, the 120th destination offered by Uniktour
"Today's announcement is the culmination of more than 10 years of efforts by the Uniktour team. I am really proud and excited to finally be able to offer our customers the incomparable experience of space travel," said Mr. Bergeron.

"The day is not so far off that one will be able to travel to Tokyo in two hours via a suborbital flight. We are on the brink of a new alternative to the jet-powered aircraft that makes use of all the latest technological advances. This new mode of travel is a rocket-driven suborbital aircraft. It was crucial for me look to the future and experience this mode of travel first-hand so that Uniktour could better advise its customers." Travelers will be able to experience weightlessness on board a suborbital flight after only a few minutes of propulsion by four reusable rocket engines on board Xcor's Lynx Mark I shuttle.

"We are very enthusiastic about working with Uniktour to offer Quebecers the possibility of a trip into space. Since safety is a constant concern for us, we take care to comply with best safety practices in commercial air travel and all major safety elements that apply to military flight to our commercial activities," said Reinhard Spronk, Chief Commercial Officer, Space Expedition Corporation.

A first satisfied customer
Sylvain Bélair, executive director of the Cosmodome, is the first Quebecer to reserve his seat for a suborbital flight with Uniktour. "What an amazing time of space exploration we live in. The fact that I will soon travel to the limits of space is a childhood dream come true! This suborbital flight will be a crucial step towards space travel before tourists can one day travel to an orbital station and the surface of the moon," said Mr. Bélair.

From California to the stars
In suborbital flight, the spaceship takes off like a commercial airliner (horizontally) from the spaceport located in California's Mohave Desert. It then tilts to an 80-degree angle and travels at Mach II, twice the speed of sound. Only one passenger can travel in this spaceship, seated in the cockpit beside the pilot. He or she will be able to experience weightlessness for three to five minutes, in addition to marveling at the darkness of space and the earth's curvature before gliding back down for a horizontal landing.

Suborbital flight has the advantage of producing exactly the same sensations as a longer flight in orbit. Unlike an orbital flight, the shuttle's speed does not make it possible to remain in constant orbit around the Earth.

Xcor Aerospace, which builds the Lynx Mark I shuttle, completed the development of the Lynx rocket engine in May 2010 after nearly 5,000 firings and 66 test flights.

Reserve now at Uniktour
Whether they are space buffs, extreme adventurers or explorers with a craving for the unknown, Uniktour's customers can now reserve a seat on a suborbital flight, starting at $95,000 US.

Program Price ($US) Altitude Shuttle Spaceport When
Pioneer $95,000 +60 km Lynx Mark I Mojave 2013
Founders' Club $100,000 +100 km Lynx Mark II Curacao, Mojave 2014
Future Astronaut $100,000 +100 km Lynx Mark II Curacao, Mojave 2015

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About Uniktour
Founded by Philippe Bergeron 12 years ago, Uniktour is a tour operator and travel agency that organizes customized trips to meet its customers' every whim. Its country specialists cover more than 120 destinations around the world, even the most exotic locations, with unmatched know-how and expertise. 

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SOURCE: Uniktour

For further information:

Serge Vallières
Office: 514-843-2310
Cell: 514-589-7214

Emilie Dutil-Bruneau
Office: 514-843-2370
Cell: 514-654-3180

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