Maine agent can book trip to stars


PORTLAND (AP) – A Maine travel agent can book a flight to most places on earth. Soon she’ll be able to book your flight to the stars.

Pamela Hurley-Moser was one of 45 agents across North America selected for training to become an “accredited space agent.” That means that eventually she’ll be able to reserve seats aboard Virgin Galactic’s sub-orbital space flights.

The experience won’t come cheap for customers.

It’s expected to cost $200,000 for a 2-hour flight 75 miles above the Earth’s surface. The first flight isn’t scheduled to take off until 2009.

Hurley-Moser is going to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida this week for a two-day training session. She’ll learn how to market the trips, find clients and answer any questions potential space tourists may have.

She already has at least one customer: herself.

“I have a real appetite for adventure travel, and space travel is the ultimate. How much farther can you go?” she said.

Virgin Glactic, established by British tycoon Richard Branson, is one of several startup companies that plan to rocket ordinary people into space. Its goal is to ferry 500 people in its first year – roughly the same number of people who have gone up in 45 years of space travel.

Virgin Galatic’s initial tourist flights will take off from California, and later at a proposed facility in New Mexico called Spaceport America.

On Friday, Virgin Galactic signed a deal with a Swedish firm to explore the possibilities of launching flights from an airport in northern Sweden, as well.

Hurley-Moser, founder of Hurley Travel Experts, is part of a team assembled by Virgin and Virtuoso Ltd., a luxury travel network.

Several Mainers want to take this trip. Some have already contacted Hurley-Moser, and she said she knows of others who may be interested.

“It’s for someone who wants experiential travel, a life experience,” she said. “They don’t need another boat or another car.”