Oct 1, 2010

Science Scene - Space, the next Frontier :o)

American space ambitions have, for the most part, maintained a well-defined line between space exploration and space tourism, But that line has now blurred as Boeing announced that it is entering the space tourism business, selling leftover seats in its Crew Space Transportation (CST) spacecraft after the initial four are filled by embarking and returning crews bound for the International Space Station.

Boeing and Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace won an $18 million contract from Boeing earlier this year for development and testing of a space capsule capable of carrying astronauts to the space station and back. Boeing's planned capsule would seat up to seven passengers, and since space station crew rotation missions generally require four NASA astronauts, three seats would be available for commercial sale.

Boeing stopped short of naming a price, but it did indicate that flights could begin as soon as 2015 and that it's already prepared to speak to interested customers. However, Boeing and Space Adventures (the company that will handle the bookings) did say prices would be competitive with previous Soyuz flights, which most recently charged $40 million for an eight-day round-trip to the ISS.

In a larger context, the blurring of the line between NASA and its commercial counterparts could signal an embracing of the Obama administration's vision for future American spaceflight, a vision that calls for increased reliance on commercial ventures for orbital trips to space and a shifting of NASA's focus to deep space exploration. Some members of Congress, specifically those on the House Science and Technology Committee, feel that such a shift strips NASA and America of their space dominance.


  1. Other than Richard Branson and maybe the Russian cat who owns the New Jersey Nets, how many of the mega rich are fit enough to go up into space? Then you have to wonder about their mental health as well.

    On the other hand... you have to admit that if you had a spare 40 or so million dollars lying about, you too would go up into space!!

  2. It feels spacey enough down here for me.

    I'd hope that people with 40 mil to spare would feed people & maybe build some more low-income senior housing in safe neighborhoods( & a few other things too)....but I do see a big value to the govt's exploration. Where the hell would we be without exploration?

  3. I say fly away, if you put up the cash for science. Me I am afraid of airplanes and that cabin looks to tight. I rather read about it.

  4. I felt claustrophobic just looking at the picture!


Tell Me What You Think, Don't Make me go Rogue on you :o)