Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Grumbling over sub-orbital tourism delays

From Lunar Pioneer
Heath Haussamen
New Mexico Independent

It’s been five years since SpaceShipOne won the first Ansari X Prize and proved that commercial vehicles have a future in outer space. But the move to actually commercialize space hasn’t been as quick as those trying to make it happen predicted.

The Associated Press takes a look at that reality in a new article featuring “daredevil venture capitalist” Alan Walton who says he’s about ready to ask for his money back if there’s no set launch date by next April, when he turns 74.

“This was going to be the highlight of my old age,” the AP quoted Walton, one of hundreds of people who “plunked down” the $200,000 to be among the first space tourists on a Virgin Galactic spaceship.

When Virgin officials and the state of New Mexico came together to announce a partnership to turn the commercial space industry into a reality, they estimated commercial flights beginning in 2007 in California and moving to Spaceport America as soon as the New Mexico facility was ready in 2008.

Clearly, that hasn’t happened. Commercial flights in California haven’t started yet, as Virgin has experienced as many delays in building its craft as New Mexico officials have had in building the spaceport.

Read the feature story, HERE.

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