Revisiting space sports and Benson Space

In an article in this week’s issue of The Space Review, Rocky Persaud reexamines the idea of “space sports” discussed last week in a Taylor Dinerman article. Persaud believes that zero-gravity sports (like the “Zero Gravity Football” his company, IPX Entertainment, is trying to develop) could spur public interest in spaceflight and space tourism. It’s in the interest of space sports promoters to encourage orbital space tourism in the long run, if for nothing else to have an in-person audience for their events: “Two teams facing off in zero gravity will be much more exciting to a television audience if they can hear the cheers and shouts of the people floating courtside. It might even make good marketing sense to make sure the arena is full by subsidizing or giving away those seats to the rich and famous who can pay for their own launch into orbit.”

Also in The Space Review this week, I interview Jim Benson about his decision to leave SpaceDev and create a new company, Benson Space Company. The genesis of Benson Space Company goes back to SpaceDev’s planning for the COTS competition, as an alternative means of bringing in private money to SpaceDev (through revenue rather than stock sales); Benson decided to proceed even though SpaceDev didn’t win a COTS award. I asked Benson how he would set his company apart from the various other ventures that are planning suborbital commercial spaceflight services in the next several years, and he believes that he can get the Dream Chaser into service before his competitors complete their vehicles: “I truly believe that Benson Space will be the first to market because we have absolutely the most elegant solution,” he said. “May the best company win.”

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