Metro, the free British daily, had a brief interview with former astronaut Charles Bolden last week. Among the questions asked of Bolden was whether he was “for or against” space tourism. His response:
I’m a big fan. Every time we can send a human into Earth’s orbit, that’s one more person that becomes aware of the value and joy of doing that, and knows what that vantage point affords us. The more of it the better.
He did caution, however, that potential tourists need significant amounts of training before they fly:
We need to be careful we don’t let people go about it in a cavalier manner. We need to put as much training into the space tourists as any government-sponsored space exploration.
“As much training” as government missions could be a significant obstacle down the road for tourism, given that those flying on Soyuz flights have to spend six months in Russia. The size of the market for those who want to fly into orbit and have up to $20 million available is small enough as it is; it gets smaller when you tack on the six months’ worth of training.