Taking Flight: News10NBC goes In-Depth on the future of space tourism

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — How much would you pay to go into space?

We just saw Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos reach sub-orbital space in their rocket planes and commercial flights may not be all that far off. There’s already a local space agent here in Rochester making a number of experiences possible for those who are interested.

Craig Curran has owned DePrez Group of Travel Companies for more than 40 years. He also owns a ticket on a pretty spectacular flight that will take him a little further than out of town.

“The legacy of being one of the first humans to leave the planet is attractive to some people, that was attractive to me. I wanted to get my place early in line. So, in 2011, I bought my ticket and I’ve been waiting for my chance ever since,” Curran told News10NBC.

He’s one of about 600 people in the world who has a seat on a future Virgin Galactic Space Flight and hopes to get his chance to go into space by 2023.

In the meantime, he continues his day job which has expanded into his passion in recent years.

“We’ve seen in our business a real evolution from destination-based travel to experiential travel. So, folks are looking for something more than a beautiful beach and a good meal,” Curran explained.

That’s why he became a certified space travel agent.

Jennifer Lewke (News10NBC) – What are you actually able to sell to people right now when it comes to space travel?

Craig Curran – So there’s a number of products that we can sell right now, we can sell trips to the international space station, those are available but more down to earth in terms of what’s available… we send folks to the NASTAR training facilities in Philadelphia which is a national training facility with a centrifuge. You can go through different profiles of different space launches and space experiences. You can go up and fly in MiG fighters or do dogfights, acrobatic aircraft flights, things of that nature.

Or, you can stay local but feel like you’re out of this world.

“Zero-G is an aircraft that’s a specially modified Boeing 727 that does parabolic flights and when you’re at apogee on the top… you’re weightless for 20 to 35 seconds,” Curran explained.

The Zero-G plane will be here in Rochester for the first time, for one day in September.

“When you get to apogee, you just get lighter and all the sudden, you start floating off the floor and you’re bumping into the ceiling and movement is absolutely effortless. We’ll do this 15 times with 20-30 seconds of weightlessness each time,” Curran explained.

Curran recently took a Zero-G flight himself and that’s what convinced him to charter the plan for a day here in Rochester.

“You will get the exact identical experience that professional astronauts get when they’re at the international space station… the weightlessness is exactly the same,” he said.

The five-hour experience includes a flight suit, training, the experience and then pictures and videos of it to take home.

“It’s $6,900 per person but compared to $28 million which is what the seat sold for on Blue Origin’s flight with Jeff Bezos, it’s quite a bargain,” Curran said.

But that might depend on the weight or weightlessness of your wallet.

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