Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Beam me up Scotty

Space tourists!!

Space travel is the ultimate "ride". Very few civilians have had the privilege of going into space, but, only after spending obscene amounts of money. Now, it looks like it'll be possible for us to make that ride in our lifetime. Burt Rutan and team, are developing a second version of their SpaceShipOne plane that succesfully flew into suborbital space twice, winning the Ansari X-Prize. Richard Branson's Virgin Galactica has already placed an order for a fleet of these planes and will likely start offering the service after testing is done in 2007.

SpaceshipTwo, as the new plane is called will be designed to accomodate 5 - 8 passengers, who will be provided comforts comparable to the first class of commercial airlines. Well, when you pay around $200,000 for a ticket, I don't think asking for some leg room is too much. Although it will cost a bomb initially, prices will hopefully come down to sane levels in the years to come.

Competition is brewing here too. While Paul Allen is a financial backer of the SpaceShipTwo project, Jeff Bezos and his company Blue Origin plan to offer similar sub-orbital space flights.

OK, I'm definitely going to do this......

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