The wide world of spaceports

Cue the “Wide World of Sports” theme music, but watch out for that ski jump:

  • The Virginian-Pilot investigates whether the Mid-Altantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) might host space tourism flights in the future. One of the problems with MARS outlined in the article is a lack of investment by Virginia and Maryland: its operating budget is only a half-million dollars a year, hardly enough for marketing, if there was much there to market at the present time. (Disclosure: I was one of the people interviewed for, and quoted in, the article.)
  • An article in Arabian Business about the first UAE citizen to sign up for Virgin Galactic notes that Virgin may be looking at possible sites in the region for a spaceport “should demand for tickets from the region increase.” Given, if nothing else, the large volumes of disposable income in that region, one can only imagine that that time will come sooner rather than later.
  • A Malaysian airport could become a spaceport under a proposal developed by a group led by space tourism marketing pioneer Patrick Collins. However, the article states that the proposal “was submitted in 1999″ (which suggests that not much progress has taken place in the last eight years), and that it relies on the Ascender vehicle proposed by Bristol Spaceplanes, a British company that has made no visible progress on its concept for some time (and whose web site has not been updated for nearly a year and a half).

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