First Indian space tourist ready to take off
Kochi, March 15 (PTI): Taking tourism to greater heights, Santosh George Kulangara, a Keralite, is all set to become the first Indian space tourist.
Santosh, the Managing Director of Labour India Publications, and producer of 'Sancharam', a popular weekly travel programme being aired on a Malayalam television channel, has travelled to nearly 50 countries in the past 10 years filming exciting new destinations for his viewers.
"This is a dream come true," Santosh told PTI over phone from Pala in Kottayam district.
He would be flying on board the Virgin Galetic's spaceship, a venture of Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic.
"They have given confirmed registration number of 38 for undertaking the journey," he said.
During the registration, he had made a payment of USD 20,000 (about Rs 9 lakh).
"The whole process took him two years. The contract was signed on February 26 this year. The flight charges are roughly around Rs 90 lakh and are likely to be scaled down further," he said.
Santosh said in 2004, he heard about the Virgin Galetic space flights when it conducted three trials.
He contacted Virgin Galetic to say he was interested and was asked to wait. When he again contacted them in August last year, they took in his registration and sent him the terms and conditions and the flight charges.
The date of the journey has not yet been fixed.