Thursday, January 15, 2009

NASA Wants in on Suborbital Space Rides

Irene Klotz, Discovery News

There's a new customer lining up for rides aboard commercial spaceships being designed to ferry passengers into suborbital space -- NASA.

No, the U. S. government isn't looking to break into the space tourism business -- at least not yet. But the agency is interested in what science can be done during the three- to five-minute suborbital hops.

That's how much time experiments -- and tourists -- would spend in microgravity during rides being offered by aspiring space launch services firms including Virgin Galactic, XCOR Aerospace and others.

"You have this whole community of scientists who have been passionate about space their whole lives," said John Gedmark, who oversees the Washington, D.C.-based Personal Spaceflight Federation, a trade group for the fledging industry.

"All of a sudden, they're going to get to go fly in space," Gedmark said. "It's not just going to be astronauts."

Read more HERE.

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