SMA wins Space Adventures account

NEW YORK: Space Adventures, the space travel company that flies passengers to the International Space Station (ISS) for about $20 million, has hired Susan Magrino Agency (SMA) to handle US public relations and media outreach.

NEW YORK: Space Adventures, the space travel company that flies passengers to the International Space Station (ISS) for about $20 million, has hired Susan Magrino Agency (SMA) to handle US public relations and media outreach.

On April 7, Space Adventures client Charles Simonyi, a software pioneer that was integral in the development of Microsoft's Word and Excel products, will launch from Kazakhstan to fly to the ISS.

Stacey Tearne, Space Adventures VP of communications, said the company, which did not have an incumbent agency, felt this launch could have additional promotional opportunities that would benefit from hiring an agency. Billings are undisclosed.

In relation to the space launch, Simonyi has set up a Web site http://www.charlesinspace.com/ where he is blogging and providing information to educate children about space travel.

Tearne said that Space Adventures story - and the macro issue of commercialized space exploration - touches upon a number of niche interests, such as business, technology, and consumer publications and outlets.

"People are always looking for the next great thing," said David Thalberg, SMA executive director. "Private space tourism is the next step. Many of the exotic [terrestrial] locations have already been explored."

"Some equate luxury [with Space Adventures] because of the price tag. To us, it's more of an evolution of exploration," Tearne said.

SMA will target a number of luxury and general-interest publications like the Robb Report, Condé Nast Traveler, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal, as well as broadcast outlets, according to Thalberg.

"A lot of people in the media are interested in space flights," Thalberg said, counting CNN's Lou Dobbs, who founded Space.com, and Miles O'Brien as space fans. "Someday you'll see a journalist reporting from space."

Space Adventure's first orbital spaceflight was in 2001. The company also provides zero gravity adventures and cosmonaut training.

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