Going Dutch in space

A lucky Dutch radio listener will win a suborbital spaceflight, according to a report by Radio Netherlands. The Dutch station “Q-music” is giving away the suborbital flight, provided by Space Adventures; the winner will be announced Saturday during an event at an aviation and space museum in Lelystad. The article is a bit skeptical about whether the winner will actually get to fly into space, given that Space Adventures has made little progress on its suborbital space tourism plans: “It will take years before they’re able to stage a space flight, if at all.”

The Radio Netherlands piece does devote some time to those who claim that space tourism is detrimental to the environment, interviewing Peter van Vliet, who runs a “foundation that promotes sustainability”. Van Vliet claims that emissions from suborbital spacecraft are particularly harmful to the upper levels of the atmosphere, although he doesn’t cite any specific data on such effects (which, of course, would depend on the composition and volume of the emissions.) He claims that space tourism is “unacceptable” in an era where there is growing concern about climate change and the environment: “It’s a classic case of something you just can’t do anymore, in this day and age.” Dangerous words.

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