Yesterday I published a post revealing that you can use 2,000,000 Virgin America Flying Club points to circumvent the $250,000 cost of a seat on a Virgin Galactic suborbital flight to the edge of space. In researching that post I discovered an even better option for anyone wanting to get their space fix on. You can enter a drawing for a prize that lets you and a guest fly for free potentially while supporting an organization dedicated to creating a culture of worldwide interconnectedness through expanding civilian access to space.

The Prize

The winner will receive two seats, one for the winner and one for the winner’s guest, for a sub-orbital flight aboard Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo, pre-flight training, a tour of Virgin’s Spaceport America in Las Cruces, New Mexico, round-trip coach airfare, ground transportation and accommodations for the winner and guest. 

The Drawing

It’s pretty simple. Interested persons buy entries in a drawing for two seats on one of Virgin Galactic’s first commercial flights. Sums collected go to Charities Aid Foundation America (“CAF America”), a US-registered, 501(c)(3) public charity. CAF America then transfers the donations, minus fees and costs for the trips, to Space for Humanity. The cost of the entries should qualify as a tax-deductible charitable contribution under the United States Tax Code. Enter the drawing here. Making a donation is not required to enter.

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The Purpose

The aim of Space For Humanity is facilitating a sustainable future through increasing public access to space.

Space for Humanity’s mission is to expand access to space, train our leaders of tomorrow and contribute to a culture of interconnectedness. By sending citizens to space—as well as hosting conversations, events and launch parties—Space for Humanity will cultivate a global network of transformational leaders better equipped to create a sustainable future for us all. 

People who have been to space are arguably better equipped to create a sustainable future because they experience the Earth as their home and humanity as their community. It is called the Overview Effect: the cognitive shift in awareness that occurs when a human being looks down on the Earth from space.

The Virgin Galactic Spaceflight System in front of Spaceport America
Virgin Galactic Spaceflight System in front of Spaceport America. Aerospace Manufacturing Magazine photo.

The Details

The entry period began on July 11, 2021 and ends August 31, 2021 at 11:59 p.m., Pacific Standard Time. The maximum number of entries per person is 6,000. If a U.S. resident wins, the winner will also receive an additional cash payment of 25% of the retail value of the prize ($510,000) to use to pay required U.S. income taxes. If the Winner is a resident of any other country, then the Grand Prize will be awarded, net of all taxes. 

All of the official rules are found here.

Final Thoughts

This is the best option I’ve come across for regular folks to secure a trip to space. There is no, or minimal cost, you are supporting what appears to be a good cause, and you are under no obligation to actually take the flight if you win. I’ll make a donation with no expectation of winning. If by some miracle I actually won, I’ll need to do more investigation of the risks involved before actually accepting a spot onboard. It would absolutely awesome to have that decision to make.