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Brother, Can You Spare $100 Million?
2005.08.14 (Sun) 19:44
We stumbled across this space-related story over on ABC News:
The company that pioneered commercial space travel by sending "tourists" up to the International Space Station is planning a new mission: rocketing people around the far side of the moon. The price of a round-trip ticket: $100 million.
The first mission by Space Adventures could happen in 2008 or 2009 and is planned as a stepping stone to an eventual lunar landing by private citizens.
"For the first time in history, a private company is organizing a mission to the moon," Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson said at a Manhattan news conference Wednesday, a day after space shuttle Discovery safely returned to Earth. "This mission will inspire countries of the world, citizens ... our youth."
So, if any of you have a spare $100M burning a hole in your pocket, we'll gladly take it off your hands. To make it worth your while, we promise to write about the experience right here on our site. Such a deal! If you have the cash and for some reason want to go yourself instead of giving us the opportunity (you heartless bastards), you can read about it at Space Adventures.
In addition, we recently read about Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites and Richard Branson's Virgin Group forming a new firm whose purpose is to construct next generation space vehicles for commercial use. From Space.com:
Called The Spaceship Company, the new entity will manufacture launch aircraft, various spacecraft and support equipment and market those products to spaceliner operators. Clients include launch customer, Virgin Galactic—formed by Branson to handle space tourist flights.
The Spaceship Company is jointly owned by Branson's Virgin Group and Scaled Composites of Mojave, California. Scaled will be contracted for research and development testing and certification of a 9-person SpaceShipTwo (SS2) design, and a White Knight Two (WK2) mothership to be called Eve. Rutan will head up the technical development team for the SS2/WK2 combination.
All in all, it's an exciting time for private sector pushes to space.
For our part, we'd love to someday be able to take a vacation in space. Obviously, the price would have to drop significantly for us to afford it, and that price drop would have to happen before we were too old to make the trip. And, sorry, we aren't interested in the suborbital flights like the one made to claim the X Prize. While that was a great achievement, it isn't something for which we'd be willing to shell out a lot of cash. For us, if would have to be a trip to a space station at a minimum — or, better yet, a trip to the moon. The odds of all of this happening in time for us are, in our opinion, about even. Well...maybe we're just being optimistic. Can you blame us?
With all of this going on, we can't help but feel sad about NASA. Sure, they got the shuttle launched and home safe, but the news that the foam problem isn't solved means that they have once again grounded the fleet pending further investigation.
Hey, we love NASA, and they've done a lot of exciting things. The Mars Rovers were fantastic (and still are), and the trip to Titan was absolutely incredible. But it seems to us that, going forward, the manned exploration of space will, of necessity, be done in the private sector. It would be great to ride NASA's coattails until the private space industry catches up, but sadly that doesn't seem to be possible. Our guess is that before too long, NASA will be specializing in robotic missions (at which they excel), and leaving the more dangerous manned missions to those who are willing to take the risks. Given the proper profit incentives, there will be no shortage of private sector companies willing to aim for space.
And about that $100M — we'll gladly take cash, checks, or PayPal. Just let us know.
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[ Filed under: % Science & Technology ]
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Grendel, 2005.08.14 (Sun) 22:50 [Link] »
Jeff from the Two Percent Company, 2005.08.14 (Sun) 23:02 [Link] »
S.T.R., 2005.08.15 (Mon) 11:16 [Link] »
Grendel, 2005.08.15 (Mon) 23:37 [Link] »
bigsis, 2005.08.18 (Thu) 14:36 [Link] »
jay denari, 2005.08.22 (Mon) 20:33 [Link] »
Grendel, 2005.08.26 (Fri) 17:01 [Link] »
MBains, 2005.08.30 (Tue) 10:56 [Link] »
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