A few years ago, we rolled our eyes when local legislator Wallace Collins talked about an idea to make Oklahoma a spaceport where space tourists and commercial cargo could take off and land. Why would anyone want to fly a rocket in the flat, open space of western Oklahoma?

It turns out, Oklahoma may one day be an ideal hub for commercial space travel. Investors have formed Rocketplane, Ltd., with the idea of converting a Learjet into a Rocketplane capable of giving paying customers the ride of their life, 635 miles above the earth, according to a story in Sunday's Transcript business section.

The investors are looking for pre-paying customers now. It'll cost $200,000 for a seat but their research shows persons with considerable net worth would be willing to give it a try.

The company's main development facility is at Will Rogers World Airport and the tooling work is being done in Guthrie where the aircraft will be equipped with rocket boosters that take over when the plane reaches about 20,000 feet.

The partners say development should be finished by the end of the year and space flights from the former Air Force base at Burns Flat could begin in 2007. All aboard.

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