American adventure company Space Adventures has confirmed that Australia is now the most likely location for its planned suborbital spaceport. The company which offers space experiences to the very wealthy, and is the only company to have successfully launched private tourists to the International Space Station (ISS), is headquartered in Virginia, USA with an office in Moscow, Russia.
Space Adventures offers a variety of programs such as Zero Gravity, MiG flights, cosmonaut training, space flight qualification programs and reservations on future suborbital spacecrafts. The company's advisory board includes Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, shuttle astronauts Kathy Thornton, Robert (Hoot) Gibson, Charles Walker, Norm Thagard, Sam Durrance and Byron Lichtenberg; and Skylab astronaut Owen Garriott and on April 28, 2001 was the company responsible for the first space tourism flight for Dennis Tito through its partnership with the Federal Space Agency of Russia.
Space Adventures currently has a contract with the Federal Space Agency of Russia that provides them with the sole rights to transport the next four private space explorers to the ISS. The first of the four seats has already been contracted by American technology entrepreneur, Greg Olsen, Ph.D., who is currently training at the Yuri Gargarin Training Center in Star City, Russia.
Space Adventures is also working with Dentsu, the world's largest advertising agency, to put a prominent Japanese figure in one of the seats and the two remaining seats are available on the Russian Soyuz TMA spacecraft.
Space Adventures is continuing to scout for potential locations around the world, but considers Australia as the leading contender.
"Numerous government authorities in Australia view the construction and operation of a suborbital spaceport as a truly unique opportunity to bring numerous jobs and, eventually, thousands of tourists to the area," said Chuck Sammons, vice president of Suborbital Spaceflight and Spaceport Development for Space Adventures.
"We, at Space Adventures, continue to strive to bring private space travel to all private citizens worldwide. Selecting a viable location for our spaceport is another step in making commercial suborbital spaceflight a reality."