SEATTLE, Aug. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Seattle's iconic Space Needle announced today that it will be sending someone from the general public into space in what it is calling Space Race 2012. This mission is in celebration of the Space Needle's 50th Anniversary and it highlights the Space Needle's heritage of its futuristic effort to herald innovation, technology and human achievement of the coming 50 years.
"The Space Needle was built when our country was in a global space race. 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," said Ron Sevart, president of Space Needle LLC.
The Space Needle is partnering with Space Adventures, the only company that has provided human space missions to the global marketplace, on Space Race 2012. Space Adventures has arranged eight flights to the International Space Station for self-funded private individuals. Eric Anderson, Chairman of Space Adventures said, "Space Adventures is extremely excited to partner with the Space Needle on this campaign. 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. Our country has a great history of manned spaceflight, but our future in space is boundless. I applaud the Space Needle for assembling such a great public initiative."
Former Astronaut Buzz Aldrin has thrown his support behind this effort and was present at the announcement of the program. "This new space race is important to our country in much the same way as the one that I was a part of 50 years ago. In 1969 when I made the first lunar landing with Neil Armstrong and we walked on the moon, the achievement was incomprehensible but we did it! Today we're embarking on a journey that will carry hundreds of thousands of people like you and me into space and that's just as remarkable," he said.
Also present was Richard Garriott, the first second-generation American astronaut. His work as a global ambassador for space travel privatization is highly recognized, in addition to his being an explorer, adventurer and a pioneering game developer. "This is a very exciting project that will advance the efforts to privatize space travel in a way that touches and engages the general public very effectively," he said.
The program will focus on the next 18 months with sweepstakes, video entries and selection of the space traveler. The online activities are live today and details can be found at www.spaceneedle.com and facebook.com/spaceneedle.
The Space Needle is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2012. Built for the 1962 World's Fair, the Space Needle has become the Number One attraction in the Pacific Northwest, with over one million visitors each year. Along with SkyCity, the world's oldest revolving restaurant, the Space Needle is now recognized as the global icon for the City of Seattle.
Space Adventures, the company that organized the flights for the world's first private space explorers, is headquartered in Vienna, Va. with an office in Moscow. It offers a variety of programs such as the availability today for spaceflight missions to the International Space Station and around the moon, Zero-Gravity flights, cosmonaut training, spaceflight qualification programs and reservations on future suborbital spacecraft. The company's advisory board includes Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, Shuttle astronauts Sam Durrance, Tom Jones, Byron Lichtenberg, Norm Thagard, Kathy Thornton, Pierre Thuot, Charles Walker, and Skylab/Shuttle astronaut Owen Garriott. For more information, please visit www.spaceadventures.com.
VIDEO AVAILABLE: Four (4) video clips available (1GB total) at www.spaceneedle.com/spacerace2012/press.html
SOURCE Space Needle