Seattle's Space Needle competition offers winner free space trip
The owners of Seattle's iconic Space Needle plan to celebrate its 50th anniversary by launching one lucky competition winner into space.
The Space Needle is partnering with Space Adventures in what it's calling Space Race 2012.
"The Space Needle was built when our country was in a global space race," says Ron Sevart, president of Space Needle.
"With space travel moving to the private sector, a new race has begun that focuses on the best of what the Space Needle has become - a symbol of the aspirations of today's world of technology and science. What better way than sending a person from our midst into space to mark our first 50 years and look into the exciting future that lies ahead?"
The competition winner will receive a suborbital flight valued at $110,000, which will take place sometime next year. The flight will include about six minutes of zero gravity.
It's a complicated selection process. To start with, spaceflight hopefuls can sign up at the Space Needle's website - the company's expecting millions of entries. Next, a computer will randomly select 1,000 people from this list, who will be asked to submit a short video. A public vote will cut this down to a short-list.
Finally, contestants that have got this far will have to undergo a fitness teat, and a panel of judges will choose a winner - who will be named next April on the 50th anniversary of the Space Needle's opening.
"Space Adventures is extremely excited to partner with the Space Needle on this campaign," says Eric Anderson, chairman of Space Adventures.
"It is our mission to open the space frontier to the private sector and there is no better way to energize the general public, especially our youth, about space than to offer a flight opportunity to the masses."