For those astronaut wannabes, here's your chance. Richard Branson, who owns Virgin Airlines plus a few million other businesses, is set to launch the first sub-orbital flight - probably in 2008 - and he already has sold tickets to the first 150 passengers.
Sub-orbital means the passengers will actually reach outer space and experience weightlessness for about 15 minutes. And then, if all goes according to plan, the aircraft will re-enter our atmosphere and land smoothly in the Mojave Desert near Los Angeles.
Branson says that actress Victoria Principal and a senior member of an unidentified royal family have already paid their $200,000 ticket price and are set to enter outer space. Hundreds of others have applied for the flight while 60,000 have expressed interest through the Internet.
I applaud Branson or anyone who has the finances and the brains to launch a private spacecraft into sub-orbit. Back in the Sputnik days (parents explain this to your children and it will save me the time), I tried to launch a homemade rocket. It didn't get out of sight. But then again, I wasn't charging $200 grand for a ticket either.
If anyone reading this column is interested in sponsoring me on this inaugural flight, I'll gladly accept donations. Branson didn't make any mention of meals or complimentary drinks on the flight so it might nudge a bit above that $200,000 mark. I'll get back with you on that.
Branson's plan sounds a lot like the plot from "Superman Returns" where a sub-orbital craft doesn't quite make the trip successfully. Funny though, the producer of that movie is also among those signed up for the flight.
I will gladly represent the Bootheel of Missouri on this first private venture into outer space. Send your cash donations (no checks please) to this column immediately. If I hurry, maybe I can get the seat beside Victoria Principal.