Friday the 13th proved to be lucky for at least one fan of the popular TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The hit CBS sitcom gave away a high-flying prize — a free trip to space — at the Comic-Con festivities in San Diego, according to news reports.
While fans lined up earlier for a panel discussion with the stars of The Big Bang Theory, silver envelopes were given out, with one holding a ticket for a free suborbital ride aboard a space plane being developed by Mojave, Calif.-based rocket builder XCOR Aerospace, reported the Associated Press.
XCOR test pilot Rick Searfoss, a former NASA astronaut, appeared on stage to initially offer the suborbital joy ride to one of the show’s actors, Simon Helberg, who declined the opportunity, according to the AP. Helberg’s character on the show, Howard Wolowitz, launches into space in the last episode of the fifth and most recent season.
XCOR’s suborbital space plane, called Lynx, is designed to eventually carry a pilot and passenger to the upper reaches of the atmosphere, to altitudes up to and exceeding 62 miles. XCOR is one of several companies developing suborbital vehicles for commercial space tourist flights.
The two-seater Lynx will be able to take off and land on a conventional airport runway, and the reusable space plane will be capable of making four flights per day, company officials have said.
XCOR is aiming to begin space tourist flights aboard Lynx in 2013. Currently, tickets for the suborbital ride sell for $95,000 per person.