June 23rd, 2004

battyden

(no subject)

I am happy to see Scaled Composites succeed, and I'll be really happy to see other X-Prize groups succeed.

But I don't want to see NASA relegated to doing Orbital Traffic Control. I want to see them do more "unproftiable" missions, like Cassini and the Mars Rovers, and Deep Space 1. Maybe NASA will now be able to built their new re-usable orbiters without some bean-counting bastard closing the project after another $billion is spent.

Shutting down NASA means there will be one LESS group sending things into space.

And that's sad.
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battyden

Paying Passengers

"Yes, astronauts have been flying into space for over thirty years,"Tumlinson acknowledged. "But they were government employees, operating within a narrow and often short term government agenda. Whether for national prestige, as when we went to the Moon, or for science or advanced research, this is different. Rutan and the others following him have a far different goal in mind. They want to really open the frontier to all of us."

The big thing being discussed all over the media is that now paying passengers can go into space. They can pay less than $100,000 to ride a space-plane into weightlessness for a few minutes. It's not like you can get out and go for a walk but you get a few minutes of weightlessness and a terriffic view.

To me, that seems really trivial. It reminds me of a coach tour. "If this is Tuesday, we must be in Belgium." You may be spending an order of magnitude less than if you went up with NASA or the Russians, but you're still a bloody tourist.
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bugger

General Reply

I didn't say it wasn't a big deal. I think this is a bloody brilliant first step! I've been waiting for this for years. What annoys me is that we are at the start of something new and of all the Good Things that can be done with this, the prospect of orbital factories and power satelites or real sub-orbital travel between cities or a useful space station, the media focuses on tourism.







Yes yes yes. The Wright Brothers didn't plan airlines. I know that. I'm not stupid. And one of the first passengers in an aircraft was killed.
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