Spaced out

Spaced out
Mr Lim Seng, the man behind the privately-funded scheme to send a Singaporean into space.

SINGAPORE - His is a gobsmacking plan: To send a Singaporean into the far reaches of the stratosphere by end-2014.

Making our jaws drop further, he says plans are actually progressing ahead of time.

The first manned flight should happen in the fourth quarter of next year.

Mr Lim Seng (left) is nothing if not unorthodox.

Dressed in a printed burgundy shirt, trousers and twotoned oxford shoes for our interview and photoshoot, Mr Lim, 54, does not bat an eyelid at my or the editor's scepticism. We are catching up with him after his plans, which made headlines in all the major media, were first announced in February.

The idea is to send a man beyond Armstrong's Line, or more than 20km up into the stratosphere.

Armstrong's Line is an altitude beyond which humans absolutely cannot survive in an unpressurised environment.

Of course, it is not quite a spacewalk like the film Gravity. After all, outer space is usually defined by the Karman Line, 100km above sea level.

Instead, the first Singaporean in near-space will head up there in a balloon-like structure.

We asked Mr Lim why bother to since technically, any Singaporean who has flown the now-defunct Concorde or any fighter pilot has done so at this altitude?

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