PARIS — A French flight attendant has won an opportunity to fly to the edge of space after rescuing a winning candy wrapper from the garbage.
Mathilde Epron, 32, could take a trip into space aboard a Rocketplane XL craft as early as 2010, thanks to a space tourism competition sponsored by Nestle's KitKat line of chocolate bars.
Epron said she bought a chocolate bar at her local supermarket but initially threw the wrapper in the bin, telling herself that “it’s only others who win.”
Two hours later, thinking back to the competition, she decided to try her luck and fished the wrapper out of the bin, only to find the winning code marked inside.
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“For someone who works in air travel it’s really a dream come true,” she told France Info radio on Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for Nestle in France confirmed that Epron had won the prize to take a flight on a four-seater, fighter-sized aircraft built by Rocketplane Global, an Oklahoma-based spaceship company.
Rocketplane's XL spaceship is still under development but could enter commercial service as early as 2010, depending on how the project's financial and technical issues are resolved.
Epron's prize would include four days of astronaut training in Oklahoma, as well as a flight aboard the Rocketplane XP to a height of more than 62 miles (100 kilometers). That altitude marks the internationally recognized boundary of outer space. The flight profile would provide several minutes of weightlessness and a wide view of the curving Earth beneath a black sky.
Epron told Le Post that if the spaceship is not ready to take on passengers by 2011, Nestle would pay out a substitute prize of $233,000 (147,000 euros).
This report includes information from Reuters and msnbc.com.
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