Long Trips

The Space Needle Is an Actual Spaceship

One lucky winner will go into orbit as part of the monument’s 50th anniversary.

By Allison Williams August 1, 2011

To the moon, Alice!

The NASA Space Shuttle is no more, sadly, but your chances of getting weightless have never been better. To celebrate its 50th birthday, the saucer-like top of the Space Needle will detach and turn one Seattleite into an Earth-orbiting satellite.

Okay, not really. But one person will get to go into space as a passenger of the Space Adventures vessels, which will launch civilians into a suborbital flight with six minutes of zero gravity. (After the company finishes building the spaceships, that is.)

Registration is open through November 30 on the Space Needle website; after that, 1,000 people will be randomly selected to enter the second phase of the contest, which will involve video entries and public votes. Only one lucky stiff will win the space jaunt, but other not-quite-as-cool prizes include a zero-gravity experience on a "vomit comet" airplane, a telescope, and a SuperCade Arcade Machine. The advisory board includes Buzz Aldrin—also known as the only astronaut to grace both Dancing with the Stars and WWE Raw Live with his exalted presence—and Eric Anderson, chairman of Space Adventures.

The poor AARP-aged Space Needle, however, will stay firmly rooted in the ground. The big winner will be announced during 50th anniversary celebrations in April 2012.

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