XCOR Suborbital Contest Set for Super Bowl Promo

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The men’s personal care product company AXE has teamed up with Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin to send 22 people into space.

The company on Jan. 9 kicked off an online contest that promises to send 22 winners to the edge of space and back aboard a private spaceship. The winning space travelers will launch aboard a suborbital Lynx spaceplane built by the U.S. company XCOR Aerospace and operated by the tourism firm Space Expedition Curacao, AXE officials said.

“Space travel for everyone is the next frontier in the human experience,” Buzz Aldrin said in a statement. “I’m thrilled that AXE is giving the young people of today such an extraordinary opportunity to experience some of what I’ve encountered in space.”

The contest is open to men and women in more than 60 countries who sign up on the AXE Apollo Space Academy website (AXEApollo.com) and write about why they should be chosen to fly in space, while others will vote on the entries.

Advertising Age reported Jan. 10 that Unilever, the parent company of AXE, will link its first Super Bowl commercial to the suborbital sweepstakes. The Super Bowl will air on CBS in the United States Feb. 3, which is also the deadline for entering the contest.

The 22 winners will be selected during the AXE Global Space Camp in Orlando, Fla., which will feature competitive “space-simulation challenges,” AXE said in a press release.

Winning space travelers will fly, one at a time, aboard Lynx spaceplanes once Space Expedition Curacao begins operational flights. The reusable spaceplanes are designed to fly two people — one pilot and a passenger — to an altitude of 100 kilometers during suborbital flights. The rocketplane is built to take off and land horizontally on a runway.

Space Expedition Curacao will oversee commercial Lynx flights from the Caribbean island of Curacao. Tickets for a flight are set at $95,000.

XCOR Aerospace is expected to begin the first test flights of a high-altitude Lynx design sometime later this year. The first passenger flights could begin in 2014.

AXE’s deodorant body sprays are marketed under the name Lynx in some parts of the world, so booking seats on a spaceplane with the same name was no giant leap, company officials explained.

“The AXE Apollo launch is the biggest and most ambitious in the AXE brand’s 30-year history,” AXE’s Global Vice President Tomas Marcenaro said. “For the first time, we’re simultaneously launching one global competition in over 60 countries offering millions of people the opportunity to win the most epic prize on Earth. A trip to space — yes, actual space.”