Big Bang Theory Gives Lynx Ride to Lucky Fan

“The Big Bang Theory” star Simon Helberg (left), XCOR Chief Test Pilot/former NASA astronaut Rick Searfoss and Mercedes Becerra of Paso Robles, Calif., winner of the trip to space given away at “The Big Bang Theory” panel at Comic-Con 2012 on July 13 (Credits: ©WBEI. All Rights Reserved).

ComicCon just wrapped up in San Diego – the annual convention of comics, video games, science fiction, and their fans. This particular ComicCon delivered a big surprise to Big Bang Theory fan Mercedes Becerra: a suborbital spaceflight ride aboard XCor’s Lynx vehicle.

“We are so proud and grateful to be part of this adventure,” said Chuck Lorre, the television series’ executive producer. “The Big Bang Theory, boldly going where no sitcom has gone before!” 

The Big Bang Theory is a situational comedy centered on the misadventures of a group of socially inept physicists and engineers. The most recent season has featured aerospace engineer Howard Wolowitz, played by Simon Helberg, who developed hardware for various NASA missions culminating in his own “trip” to the International Space Station. Real life astronaut Mike Massimino participated in the fictional Soyuz launch in the show’s May 10 season finale.

Veteran NASA astronaut Mike Massimino (right) poses for a photo with Big Bang Theory actor Simon Helberg and another actor during a break from filming the season finale of CBS’ Big Bang Theory (Credits: Mike Massimino).

Following up on the space theme, producer Warner Brothers sponsored a free trip aboard the Lynx for one of its fans. A ticket for the Lynx generally sells for $95,000. After a staged exchanged in which Helberg was offered and declined the honor, the prize was awarded to the holder of the golden ticket distributed at random at the panel’s opening. The presentation was made by NASA veteran and XCor test pilot Rick Searfoss.

The Lynx is designed to carry one pilot and one passenger to an altitude above 100 km. The reusable vessel employs a horizontal takeoff, horizontal landing approach. According to the latest information from XCor, tourist flights will begin in 2014. 

 Awarding of Lynx tickets seems to be all the rage this year. In February, a Lynx ride was the grand prize for a drawing at the Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference. That prize was won by a very surprised NASA researcher, Thomas Goodwin.

Below, watch as Mercedes Becerra wins her ticket:



About the author

Merryl Azriel

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Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, Merryl now enjoys reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. After three years as Space Safety Magazine’s Managing Editor, Merryl semi-retired to Visiting Contributor and manager of the campaign to bring the International Space Station collaboration to the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize committee. She keeps her pencil sharp as Proposal Manager for U.S. government contractor CSRA.

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