Houston travel agency already booking ‘out of this world’ trips

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by Andrew Horansky / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on December 13, 2013 at 12:25 AM

Updated Friday, Dec 13 at 2:44 PM

HOUSTON -- At one time it was just a dream. But today, travel agents in Houston are offering their clients an ‘out of this world’ opportunity.

By this time next year, Virgin Galactic hopes to be sending its first passengers into space. Kary Saleeby, an engineer from Houston, is planning to be among the first to go.

Saleeby says his reasons go back to childhood, when he wrote letters to his favorite astronauts.

“They were doing something that was outside the norm,” he said. “I grew up with the space program.”

The two and a half hour trip will not be cheap. Seats sell for $250 thousand apiece.

But they allow tourists to experience moments of weightlessness, see the stars up close, and to go where few have gone before.

Tara Highland of Universal Travel and Diane Vest of Travel Dreams are among the first few accredited space travel agents in the country. They have each sold seats on Virgin Galactic flights.

They say their clients are booking for different reasons.

“She wants to be part of contributing to the development of the technology,” Highland said of one client.

“There are a lot of people that have been everywhere,” Vest said, “and this is kind of the last frontier.”

For Saleeby, it is about seeing the world in a different way.

“You know spaceship Earth is a very fragile place. And seeing that and experiencing it from a different perspective, you understand how small it is and how difficult it’s going to be to go anyplace else.”

Virgin Galactic’s first voyage has yet to be scheduled. Sir Richard Branson himself plans to take it with his sons.

After that, commercial space travel may just be here for good.

Click here to visit Virgin Galactic.

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