ATLANTA, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- A 41-year-old Irish businessman says he may be the first paying space tourist traveling 62 miles up into suborbital space aboard the Virgin Galactic.
P.J. King is one of hundreds of people who've signed up and trained to be among the first paying space passengers, possibly making the trip in as little as 18 months, CNN reported Friday.
"One of the reasons I'm doing this is precisely because I want these things to be ordinary," King said. "Part of the problem with space travel is that it is special."
King says his participation -- $200,000 for a seat -- will help create a time when "flights like this are happening every week, when lots of people go, and the cost has been massively reduced due to the economics of scale."
He could have spent half as much through Space Adventures, which advertises future suborbital trips for about $102,000, CNN says.
Russia charges private travelers $40 million to ride on its Soyuz spacecraft and spend a few days aboard the International Space Station.
Although these space tourists go through a three-day pre-flight launch preparation program, don't call them "astronauts," says Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon.
"I don't think these space tourists should be called astronauts," Aldrin said. "That term was created by the U.S. military. My suggestions would be star-traveler or starflyer."