Simonyi wants to work on the demand side of space tourism

The Seattle Times has the first interview with Charles Simonyi since his return to Earth on Saturday. He calls the trip “absolutely worthwhile”, full of “rich, fascinating stuff”, although he didn’t call it a particularly spiritual event. He said the future of commercial spaceflight depends on making the experience less complex: “We also have to [...]

Simonyi back on Earth

The fifth commercial visitor to the ISS, Charles Simonyi, is safely back on Earth, landing in Kazakhstan a few hours shy of two weeks after his launch from Baikonur. “It’s good to be back, to be back on Earth,” he said after landing, according to SPACE.com. Earlier, when he was leaving the ISS with NASA [...]

A discussion on space tourism safety

Today’s Wall Street Journal features a discussion on space tourism safety issues between Patti Grace Smith, the associate administrator for commercial space transportation at the FAA; and Peter Diamandis, chairman of the X Prize Foundation. (This is one of WSJ.com’s free features today, so no subscription should be required to read it.) It should be [...]

In our thoughts

SPACE.com reports that the stepdaughter of Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson was among those injured at Virginia Tech Monday in the shootings that killed more than 30 people. Kristina Heeger is in stable condition and doing well, a company spokesman said.

Brief updates

A few minor items of note in the news the last few days:

The Washington Post profiles Space Adventures and its role in shaping the space tourism industry. The article includes a quote from current ISS tourist Charles Simonyi, who contacted the reporter “in an e-mail from space”. Not a description you see in any [...]

Next orbital space tourist a Russian politician?

The head of the Russian space agency Roskosmos hinted this week that the next commercial passenger on a Soyuz ISS flight might be a Russian politician. According to an article today in the English-language newspaper The Moscow Times, Roskosmos chief Anatoly Perminov hinted that “several” governors of various regions of Russia have expressed an interest [...]

Charles not in charge of media attention

Charles Simonyi has been on the ISS for nearly three days now, and in space for nearly five, but, surprisingly, he has been overshadowed in many of the media reports about the flight. The Daily Telegraph notes that, in the days leading up to the launch, he was overshadowed by his friend, Martha Stewart, who [...]

Questions about Bigelow’s plans

Yesterday, as expected, Bigelow Aerospace announced details about its business plan. Some of those details were released in the earlier Aviation Week article, although company founder Robert Bigelow issued for the first time some pricing information: a four-week trip for a “sovereign client”—an astronaut from a national space agency—would cost $14,950,000 (in 2012 dollars), including [...]

“Showstoppers” for space tourism? Not necessarily.

Recently, the Space and Advanced Communications Research Group at George Washington University issued a report titled “Space Planes and Space Tourism: The Industry and the Regulation of its Safety”. The report is primarily a regurgitation of existing information about companies developing suborbital and orbital vehicles, the spaceports existing or under development to host those vehicles, [...]

The difficulties of getting insurance

In an article in The Space Review a couple weeks ago, I discussed the challenges companies in the personal spaceflight and related industries were experiencing getting insurance, particularly for liability coverage for passengers. An article in last week’s Space News notes that the topic also came up, fittingly, at a space insurance conference in Milan [...]