Spaceport updates

An effort to establish a commercial spaceport at Cecil Field, a former Navy air base near Jacksonville, Florida, has taken a step forward with an FAA review of an environmental assessment. According to the Florida Times-Union article, “no major issues” came up during the review, although there were a number of unspecified issues that the […]

Even space tourists have to bring back souvenirs

Odds are that, when you travel, especially to exotic, out-of-the-way locations, you’ll be charged with bringing back souvenirs for friends and family who didn’t get to go. That’s true even for space tourists. Only problem: there’s no gift shop on the ISS. So Charles Simonyi had to improvise when he brought “a plastic shopping bag […]

For composites experts only

The trade publication High-Performance Composites offers this news about the development of SpaceShipTwo:

Advanced Composites Group Ltd. (ACG, Heanor, Derbyshire, U.K.) will supply a new generation of out-of-autoclave prepregs for the project, featuring MTM45-1, a variable-cure temperature, high-performance, toughened epoxy matrix developed for resin film infusion and prepreg processing. It was designed for low-pressure vacuum […]

Desert skepticism

While Virgin Galactic got a lot of publicity in the Middle East last week when it announced its first customer from the UAE, not everyone is impressed. In an article in, Anil Bhoyrul sees the announcement, and Virgin Galactic itself, as little more than a publicity stunt designed to further the overall Virgin brand. […]

More space tourism fashion

Almost exactly a year after examining what the well-dressed space tourist will wear, the New York Times reexamines the subject, this time looking at what designer Philippe Starck is proposing for Virgin Galactic. His current design is pretty basic: a “plastic-looking bodysuit with attenuated gloves and a dome helmet”, according to the Times. But that’s […]

Profiling space tourists

USA Today takes a look today at the various people who have signed up to fly on Virgin Galactic, the usual mix of stars and starry-eyed folks, many of whom (like Victoria Principal) have gotten significant publicity already for signing up to fly on SpaceShipTwo. Virgin does reveal that they will be giving away two […]

At least the money’s good

Reuters has an article today on the struggles Russian cosmonauts encounter once they return to Earth after long-duration missions to the ISS. The article includes the opinions of one cosmonaut, Gennady Padalka, has about flying tourists on missions to the ISS: “On the one hand, when a guy comes along with a big sack of […]

The importance of editors

I ran across this week this article about space tourism from a publication called The Student Operated Press. Pretty harmless stuff, until you read the roster of space tourists who have flown to the ISS: Denis Titio, Mark Shattlvort, George Olsen, Anyshe Ansary, and, most recently, Charles Simony. Yeah, that’s right. One possible reason for […]

Confusing news about public interest in space tourism

Zogby International has released a new survey that offers conflicting news for space tourism companies and proponents. The survey, conducted online in mid-March and released late last week, indicates that about 30 percent of Americans “are interested” in space tourism, although what “interested” means isn’t defined (interested in general? interested enough to participate if the […]

Not just a travel agent but also a customer

Virgin Galactic announced this week that it has signed up its first customer from the United Arab Emirates, Ibrahim Sharaf. He will apparently be one of the Founders, the first 100 to fly on Virgin’s suborbital flights. Not only will Sharaf get to fly to space, his company, Sharaf Travel, will be the accredited travel […]