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Capitalists . . .In. . .Spaaace!

Local tycoons sought for trip into orbit.

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New York’s plutocrats were reminded recently that instead of spending that $20 million on a place in Southampton, they could blast off. Space Adventures, a company that so far has sent three rich guys up in Russian rockets, is sending out junk mail to potential “private space explorers.” The come-on includes a clumsy form letter that sets a tone of personal validation right off the bat: “This isn’t about space camp . . . this is about having the experience of your life.” A brochure promises that you’ll “achieve global celebrity status and leverage your exposure to market your business or promote a worthy cause.” Hedge-funder Robert Ziff got the pitch; Ralph Lauren’s assistant thinks he did; reps for Donald Trump, Mike Bloomberg, and Martha Stewart weren’t sure. AmEx CEO Ken Chenault wouldn’t confirm or deny, but his office did point out that thanks to a cross-promotion, an AmEx customer is currently in Moscow enjoying a suborbital flight in the Space Adventures MiG, earned through its Membership Rewards program.


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