Saturday, June 6, 2009

Mainer paying to fly in space

A self-proclaimed "space nut" from Belgrade Lakes is paying $200,000 to be rocketed 80 miles into space.

Stephen LaVerdiere says in Friday's Morning Sentinel of Waterville that he'll be the first native Mainer to fly into outer space, which is defined as an altitude of over 62 miles.

The 59-year-old LaVerdiere is scheduled to take his ride of a lifetime on the rocket ship SpaceShipTwo as part of a space tourism venture developed by Virgin Galactic. It'll be launched from a huge carrier craft that will leave from the Mojave Desert in California. About 100 people are signed up for the flight sometime next year.

LaVerdiere, the former owner of a Maine drug store chain, is a pilot who dreamed as a child of becoming an astronaut. ---

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