A spaceport’s failure to launch

The number of proposed commercial spaceports in the US has now dropped by one. Last night county commissioners in Brazoria County, Texas, south of Houston, voted 4-1 to dissolve the Gulf Coast Regional Spaceport Development Corp., a county-chartered organization that had planned to develop a spaceport along the Gulf Coast. The corporation had been commissioned [...]

Time reviews the industry

The website for Time magazine has a fairly detailed review article about the emerging space tourism industry. Writer Cathy Booth Thomas talks with a number of the leading companies, including Virgin Galactic, Armadillo Aerospace, and Benson Space Company, and also covers the more secretive Blue Origin; there’s also coverage if Bigelow Aerospace and developing spaceports, [...]

Another pixel-selling scheme

Last year I noted BuyMeToTheStars.com, an effort to raise money for a suborbital spaceflight by selling ad pixels, a project modeled on the “Million Dollar Homepage”. Now there’s another entrant in this field. Last week Ben Riecken, a flight instructor in Florida, announced his own effort to raise money for a trip through a pixel-selling [...]

What is common was once elite

The web site of Smithsonian magazine includes a brief interview with Joe Sutter, author of a new book about the 747. There’s a brief but interesting exchange in the interview of relevance here:

If you were a young aerospace engineer just starting out today, what area would you be most interested in? The private space [...]

X Prize Cup funding problems in New Mexico?

I received an email overnight that had been forwarded from a list of X Prize Cup volunteers indicating that there may be some problems securing some state funding that was intended to support the 2007 event. Here’s the key passage of that message:

The Governor had pushed for $1 million to be allocated for assistance [...]

Space tourism and global warming

In Monday’s issue of The Space Review, Steven Fawkes discusses the potential impact global warming concerns could have on space tourism. Space tourism activities, even in their most robust scenarios, would make on a very small contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, but Fawkes notes that there could be the perception that even that is too [...]

Simonyi’s suit

As Charles Simonyi prepares to his flight to the ISS in early April, he recently passed a major milestone: his own official spacesuit. “Being in my own spacesuit, which I’ll get to keep after the flight, is just an incredible experience,” he told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He’s continuing his training with no problems. The article [...]

Watch out, New Mexico

Here comes Florida. That’s the message the head of Space Florida conveyed to Florida Today in today’s issue. Steve Kohler said that he has been talking to Virgin Galactic “among others”, trying to lure them to establish operations in the state. Kohler didn’t indicate if those discussions with Virgin were for operations in addition to [...]

PlanetSpace looks beyond tourism

SPACE.com published yesterday an overview of PlanetSpace and its plans to develop the Silver Dart spaceplane. What’s noteworthy about this review is that space tourism is a relatively low priority for the company, which is instead pursuing orbital flights to the ISS (and presumably other destinations, if any) as well as point-to-point flights, taking advantage [...]

Well, that’s one thing you can do on a suborbital flight

The British tabloid The Sun checks out a mockup of the SpaceShipTwo cabin on display at the Science Museum in London. So what could future SS2 passengers do on their suborbital spaceflights? “It could give visitors a opportunity to see life in space and maybe the chance to try and spot aliens and UFOs.” Um, [...]