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Space Tourism

View from space taken by Greg Olsen
 Photo: Space Adventures

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has forked out a US$5 million deposit to reserve a seat on future orbital spaceflights and join the select group of private space tourists. Space Adventures, the company that helped Dennis Tito become the world’s first private astronaut in 2001, has also announced an agreement with the Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation (FSA) to launch a dedicated mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2011.  Read More

Lynx sub-orbital spacecraft
 Image: www.xcor.com

March 28, 2008 Back in 2001 Californian millionaire Denis Tito made headlines as the worlds' first space tourist - shelling out around US$20 million for the privilege. Seven years on, the competition to offer such an out-of-this-world experience to a broader range of paying customers (and capitalize on what is expected to become a market worth hundreds of millions of dollars over the next decade) is heating up. Earlier this year fledgling spaceline Virgin Galactic revealed designs for what will become its flagship -SpaceShipTwo, now Californian based XCOR Aerospace has unveiled a two-seater suborbital spaceship the size of a small private plane that the company expects to have airborne in 2010.  Read More

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo

February 4, 2008 The era of private space travel is another step closer to reality with Virgin Galactic revealing designs for the craft set to become the flagship of the world's first spaceline. Based on SpaceShipOne, which claimed the $10 million Ansari X Prize in October 2004 by successfully becoming the first private manned spacecraft to exceed an altitude of 328,000 feet twice within the span of a 14 day period, SpaceShipTwo and its carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo are now approaching completion at Scaled Composites in Mojave, California. Flight testing set to get underway towards the middle of this year for what will be the world’s largest all carbon composite aircraft, capable of carrying eight astronauts or other payloads into sub-orbital space.  Read More

A2 - designed to reach Mach 5

August 30, 2007 Imagine long-distance air-travel that could get you to the other side of the globe in less than a quarter of the time it presently takes? Researchers from Reaction Engines, a company created for design and development of advanced space transport and propulsion systems, are investigating the possibility of hypersonic civil transport in a three year study to examine the feasibility of reducing long-distance flights (e.g. from Brussels to Sydney) to less than 4 hours.  Read More

Artist Pat Rawling's impression of a working space elevator Photo: NASA Marshall Space Fli...

August 5, 2007 Almost 40 years after it ended, the Spaceward Foundation is reigniting the space race with the third annual Elevator: 2010 competition. Part of the “Spaceward Games” taking place on October 19-21 near Salt Lake City, the competition is open to any family, school or adult and this year allows participants to compete in more events including the first inaugural Light Racer challenge. The tournament aims to bring attention to the viability of far-reaching space exploration concepts and requires competitors to build beam powered lunar buggies and beam powered cable “climbers”. But the machines aren’t the only thing ascending rapidly in the name of scientific advancement; the total prize money this year has skyrocketed to US$1 million.  Read More

Charles Simonyi (right), the world's 5th private space tourist, aboard the International S...

April 16, 2007 Billionaire Charles Simonyi, the 5th civilian space traveller ever, has now completed more than a week of his 13-day space journey. He's currently enjoying zero gravity on board the International Space Station (ISS) with its current long-term crew Michael Lopez-Alegria and Sunita Williams. Private space tourism is taking off as an industry - even with trips like this costing around US$20 million, tour organiser Space Adventures is almost fully booked until 2009.  Read More

A walk in space – yours for just US$35 million

July 23, 2006 Until now, the most expensive holiday you could have was to buy a US$20 million ticket from Space Adventures for a 10-day spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS) which includes six months of cosmonaut training. Now a US$15 million option has been added to the package which includes a walk in space during your stay aboard the ISS. Also known as an extra-vehicular activity (EVA), those clients interested in the spacewalk option have the availability to spend up to 1.5 hours outside of the space station. The addition of a spacewalk lengthens the mission approximately six to eight days and candidates are required to participate in a month of EVA simulations and specialized training sessions, in addition to meeting the medical and physical requirements, familiarizing themselves with the Russian Soyuz TMA spacecraft and learning how to live aboard the ISS. It’s your opportunity to go one-up on Californian millionaire Denis Tito (the first paying customer of Space Adventures in mid 2001), South African technology millionaire Mark Shuttleworth, American technology entrepreneur Greg Olsen who have all experienced space flight as private citizens, and Japanese entrepreneur Daisuke Enomoto (Dice-K) who will become the fourth space tourist this coming September.  Read More

Space Adventures announces Spaceport for Singapore

February 21, 2006 Space Adventures, together with a Singapore-based consortium, announced today that it plans to develop an integrated spaceport in Singapore that will offer suborbital spaceflights, as well as operate astronaut training facilities and a public education and interactive visitor center. It is the second spaceport announced by Space Adventures in the last week, the other to be located in Dubai. The focal point of the proposed Spaceport Singapore will be suborbital spaceflights. As each suborbital vehicle reaches its maximum altitude of 100 kilometers, passengers will experience up to five minutes of continuous weightlessness, all the while gazing at the blackness of space set against the horizon of Earth. The spaceport will be build in the near vicinity of Changi Airport.  Read More

Image courtesy: ELRO

February 18, 2006 Space Adventures today announced plans to develop a commercial spaceport in Ras Al-Khaimah (the UAE), with plans to expand globally. Other potential spaceport locations include Asia, specifically Singapore, and North America. The total estimated cost of the global spaceport development project is claimed to be at least US$265 million and will be funded by various parties, along with shared investments by Space Adventures and the government of Ras Al-Khaimah. The company, which organized orbital flights for all of the world's private space explorers, also announces that His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi of Ras Al-Khaimah, along with the UAE Department of Civilian Aviation, have granted clearance to operate suborbital spaceflights in their air space.  Read More

Space tourism industry could be cleared to fly passengers by 2008

February 16, 2006 The sunrise industry of Space tourism has already demonstrated how lucrative it could become with the prices rumoured to have been paid by the first three space tourists. Californian millionaire Denis Tito became the first paying customer of Space Adventures in mid 2001 parting with an unconfirmed US$20 million and similar numbers were bandied around for 28 year old South African technology millionaire Mark Shuttleworth, and American technology entrepreneur Greg Olsen who returned from the International Space Station in October, 2005. Hong Kong resident and Japanese entrepreneur Daisuke Enomoto (Dice-K) will become the fourth space tourist this coming October, but while the number of spare seats available at the International Space Station remain extremely limited, the laws of supply and demand will ensure that space remains the domain of paid astronauts and the privileged super-wealthy. Hope is however at hand, as the United States Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta has announced that commercial space craft could be cleared to carry passengers by as early as 2008. Speaking to a group of space entrepreneurs, the Secretary said that a number of companies should be set to take passengers into space and that the U.S. Department of Transportation would be ready to clear these flights within two years.  Read More

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