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Researchers sign contracts for suborbital spaceflights
Posted: Tue, Mar 1, 2011, 6:22 AM ET (1122 GMT)
SpaceShipTwo first glide flight (Virgin Galactic) A research organization announced Monday that it has purchased tickets from two commercial suborbital vehicle operators to fly its scientists into space to carry out experiments. The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) said it has purchased 8 seats with Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace, with options that could bring the total number to 17. SwRI has three scientists who will fly on those vehicles, performing biomedical, microgravity, and astronomical imaging experiments. The announcement marks the first time that an organization has purchased seats from commercial suborbital providers for the purposes of science, as opposed to space tourism, and was tied to coincide with a conference on suborbital research in Florida.
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