Space-Travel Agent Stefan Bisciglia
Stefan Bisciglia is selling tickets to space, and if you’ve got the cash, you’ve got a seat. The 27-year-old from Gig Harbor is one of only three accredited “space agents” in the Northwest trained by Virgin Galactic, the world’s first “commercial spaceline,” spearheaded by Richard Branson. Having begun his career working for his family’s luxury cruise company, Bisciglia has expanded to offering travelers the trip of a lifetime—into suborbital space. “It’s a hell of a ride,” Bisciglia says, and it will cost you a pretty penny. The $250,000 price tag covers a two-hour flight, which includes a 30-minute ascent (the rocket blast reportedly sounds like a screaming cat), a brief period of weightlessness and a one-and-a-half-hour descent. Virgin has yet to start scheduling flights (it’s still in testing mode) but at press time, Bisciglia was booking two clients for the adventure. Some people simply want the thrill of the ride (g-force!), others have dreamed about going into space since they were kids. But Bisciglia predicts the real future of the spaceline will be improving travel here on earth—say, reducing the torturous 14-hour flight from LA to Sydney to an easy three-hour jaunt. Best of all? Once you’ve been to space, you get to call yourself an astronaut.
Need to Know:
1/ Worldwide, about 550 people have signed up for the spaceflight, from teens to octogenarians, most of them men.
2/ A regular commercial jet flies at an altitude of 30,000–45,000 feet (6 to 8.5 miles). The Virgin Galactic spacecraft will reach 360,000 feet (68 miles).
3/ Travelers are in suborbital space a total of four minutes (that’s $62,500 per minute).
4/ The trip includes a mandatory three-day training and bonding program before launch. This includes medical checks, emergency response training and, most importantly, learning how to strap yourself into your seat.