Scott: If you are like me, you have daydreamed about what it would be like to travel in space, to be weightless looking back down at the Earth or so close to the moon you feel like you could just grab it. Well, for a few lucky young people, the trip of a lifetime just got real.
Meet Pat Carney, a 21-year-old student from Virginia, and Mandla Maseko, a DJ in South Africa. Worlds apart, but about to share an out-of-this-world experience. The two young people won a $100,000 ticket into space aboard the XCOR Lynx spacecraft.
Pat Carney: You take off the runway, you go up at about 1,000 meters per second so you’re shooting up there, you cross the official space lines, you become one of less than 600 astronauts.
Scott: But one doesn’t become of those very few easily. More than one hundred students from sixty countries went through intense training at the Axe Apollo Space Academy at Cape Canaveral, competing for one of just 23 seats up for grabs.
From high-flying combat simulations…
Carney: Your face peels back, you can feel it in your stomach. You do a really tight circle where you have to make sure you don’t pass out. You squeeze your arms and your legs really tight.
Scott: …To fitness and endurance tests and, of course, weightlessness.
Carney: Finally, we had the Zero-G experience where we actually got to feel weightlessness.
Scott: It is all in preparation for their half-hour journey to space. The two-seater Lynx will take them up to 330,000 feet. And after four minutes of weightlessness and an amazing view, the Lynx will begin gliding back to earth.
And while it would be cool for any contestant to snag a seat, Maseko says he is especially proud, as he will be the first black African to make the trip.
Mandla Maseko: It’s overwhelming.
Scott: The part-time DJ studied civil engineering while in college but was forced to withdraw when money dried up. He says the contest has inspired him so much that he now travels to hospitals and schools to share the power of dreaming big with other young people.
Maseko: This is huge. It’s bigger than me, so I’m taking it to another scale. I’m hoping this will inspire and motivate the youth of South Africa and Africa as a whole.
Scott: Now, the training continues for the flight scheduled in 2015 when they shoot for the stars…and the sky is no longer the limit.
So, what do you think? Don’t have the cash but want to be an astronaut? See if you have got what it takes and visit Channelone.com.