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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Alex Brown
July 8, 2014, 12:17 p.m.

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:


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