London- Sony Pictures Television (SPT) will unveil a new format called Milky Way Mission at MIPCOM, offering broadcasters the opportunity to send contestants into space for the first time in television history. The announcement follows an exclusive agreement between SPT and Space Expedition Corporation (SXC), which is launching a space travel programme for civilians in 2014 and will provide seats on its space flights to participating broadcasters.

Milky Way Mission was created by Tuvalu Media and Simpel Media, which have already secured the format’s first commission with Dutch network Nederland 1 for an eight episode, one-hour series.  The format sees ten celebrities living in a special boot camp where they undergo a rigorous and intensive training programme in preparation to become an astronaut. Each week the stars face a series of extreme physical and mental challenges to avoid elimination, with final rounds taking place at the launch site in Mojave, California. From G-force simulation to extreme underwater challenges, the aspiring astronauts have to fight to stay in the competition and win the ultimate prize of a trip into space.

SXC is based in The Netherlands and was established to offer commercial travel into space while also serving the goals of science, research and education. Its XCOR Lynx Mark II spacecraft take off and land horizontally, reaching an altitude of more than 100km (338,000ft) and transporting one passenger and one pilot per flight. SXC’s Advisory Board includes veteran astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Air France KLM Vice Chairman Peter Hartman, and former Chief of Defence for the Netherlands General Dick Berlijn.