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Wannabe Spacefarer Launches Website To Accomplish His Goal

Send Ben Into Space... For A Dollar A Pixel

With the dawning of true commercial spaceflight just around the corner, a few enterprising "tourinauts" have come up with some interesting and varied ways to raise the funds for a $200,000 ticket into (sub)orbit. On that note, we introduce you to Ben Riecken, a flight instructor with Embry Riddle in Daytona Beach, FL.

Riecken (above) aims to pay his way into space aboard Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo by selling 200,000 pixel ads for $1 apiece on MyTripInSpace.com. He says he was inspired to create the website after being invited by SpaceShipOne astronaut Brian Binnie to the Mojave Desert, to see the spacecraft and take a ride in the simulator.

"This spacecraft is a beast. What a thrill! And I was just in the simulator! I have to be part of this venture," said an obviously low-key, laid-back Riecken.

Virgin Galactic is set to become the world's first spaceline taking private individuals to space and back onboard SpaceShipTwo, based on the X Prize winning prototype SpaceShipOne. Tickets for a single ride into space run a cool $200,000 apiece.

"Space has been a playground for the government and the extremely rich. It's time for a change. I want to show that a regular guy who has a passion for aviation and space can achieve this goal despite a $30,000 a year salary," said Riecken.

Companies and individuals can advertise on Ben's homepage by buying a 10x10 pixels block for $100. The $100 allows you to display a logo along with a message and a weblink.

"When it comes to advertising on the Internet, buying pixels is very cost effective," said Riecken. British entreprenauer Alex Tew brought this concept to the forefront with his million dollar homepage.

"I am not trying to be a millionaire like Alex Tew. I just want to have a ticket in space and share my experience with everyone who dream to go in space and believe it is impossible for them to achieve this goal," he added.

Ben Riecken is no stranger to challenges. He already holds an aviation record by flying into all 105 airports in the state of Florida in less then 48 hours. In July of 2006, he also took one of his students on the ultimate flying lesson by crossing the North Atlantic onboard a twin engine aircraft.

FMI: www.mytripinspace.com

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