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Win the World Cup, Go to Space

One company is offering to make the whole Dutch team astronauts if they bring home soccer’s biggest prize.

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(Courtesy of NASA)

The Netherlands' soccer stars are a pair of wins away from World Cup glory—and a free ride in space.

XCOR Aerospace, which days ago purchased the Holland-based company Space Expedition, said it's preparing rides for the (hopefully) victorious Dutchmen in early 2016.

 

Michiel Mol, who founded Space Expedition, said the company's Lynx spacecraft will take the athletes and their manager 64 miles above the Earth if they come away with the World Cup trophy.

The Lynx is set to start test flights after this summer, with commercial launches beginning in mid-2015. It can carry two people at a time, so it will take at least a dozen flights to put the entire team in the sky (assuming all the players are bold enough to try).

"100 percent; if Holland becomes world champion, these guys will be our guests," Mol said. "Against such an unearthly achievement should stand an unearthly reward."

 

The Lynx flight is about the same elevation as Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, which barely breaks the initial boundary of space and offers just a few minutes of weightlessness. Mogul Sir Richard Branson charges $250,000 for a seat on those flights.

The International Space Station orbits at about 230 miles above the Earth.

Most oddsmakers and prediction sites have the Dutch as underdogs—least likely of the four remaining teams to win—despite their stunning rout of Spain to open the tournament. It's not known if those sites factored in the added motivation of a trip to space.

Here's a video of some astronauts playing soccer:

 

Out Of This World Cup
(NASA Johnson Space Center)

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