Former Astronaut Leads Tours

Space Adventures, a space tourism company, has assembled an adventurous Big Island excursion led by a former U.S. astronaut. Space on the Beach departs Honolulu on Jan. 21, 2003. The rate for the six-night trip is $3,500 per person, double.

By: Marty Wentzel

Space Adventures, a space tourism company, has assembled an adventurous Big Island excursion led by a former U.S. astronaut. Space on the Beach departs Honolulu on Jan. 21, 2003. The rate for the six-night trip is $3,500 per person, double.

“Space on the Beach caters to people with an interest in astronomy and space and to adventure travelers,” said Space Adventures spokesperson Tereza Predescu. “It’s unique in the way we have assembled a variety of exciting activities for a comprehensive tour of the Big Island.

“We want to give clients an insight into geological and astronomical processes that shape our universe, while exploring one of the most beautiful and diverse islands in the world.”

During their week on the Big Island, Space on the Beach participants take to the skies, land and sea during the following activities:
" A two-hour helicopter tour of the island’s diverse landscape.
" A one-hour underwater excursion off the Kona Coast in a 48-passenger submarine.
" A summit tour of Mauna Kea observatories, including Keck, the world’s largest one.
" A day tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
" Snorkeling at Puuhonua O Honaunau National Park, home to a myriad of tropical fish.

The package rate covers the flights between Oahu and the Big Island, accommodations, activities and most meals.

Clients spend two nights at the rustic Volcano House in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and four nights at the Hapuna Beach Prince Resort on the Kohala Coast.

Leading the group is Guy Gardner, who has served as a fighter pilot, test pilot, astronaut, government executive and teacher. Currently, he serves as vice president of space flight development for Space Adventures. During his 11 years as a NASA astronaut, Gardner piloted two space shuttle missions.

One evening during the trip, guests are invited to relax with Gardner on the beach at sunset as he shares stories of his space adventures.

Space on the Beach is recommended for hardy travelers. To reach Kilauea Volcano, for instance, participants must hike over rough terrain. Due to the 13,500-foot altitude of the observatories at Mauna Kea, participants with heart or respiratory conditions and pregnant women may not participate.

A one-day extension prior to the tour is available in Honolulu, which includes a Polynesian astronomy lecture at Waikiki’s Kapiolani Park.

Privately owned Space Adventures was founded in 1997 in Arlington, Va., by a team of aerospace and adventure travel experts. It assisted with and facilitated the flight of the first and second space tourists to the International Space Station in 2001 and 2002. Through its partnerships with the commercial space industry, it is developing a passenger suborbital space program, with flights scheduled to launch before 2005.

The company’s other space-related adventure programs include flights to the edge of space in the world’s fastest fighter jet, zero-gravity flights, cosmonaut training, space flight qualification programs, space shuttle and Soyuz launch tours, and expeditions to the world’s major space and astronomy facilities.

Call 888-85-SPACE.

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