The wide world of space tourism

A roundup of space tourism news from across the globe:

Our first stop is Davos, Switzerland, where Space Adventures’ Eric Anderson says “business is good” for the space tourism company. Anderson, attending the World Economic Forum, said he’s looking for additional customers, but potential clients “should not expect any bargains because of the global financial turmoil.”

While we’re in Europe, check out a Flight International report on new European vehicle studies funded by the EU’s Future High-Altitude High-Speed Transport (FAST) 20XX program, to the tune of nearly $10 million. The effort is looking at two concepts: a relatively near-term (circa 2015) suborbital vehicle and a long-term hypersonic point-to-point transport. (How long term? Try 2075.) The funding is only for early-stage technology studies; where the money would come from for further development, even of the suborbital vehicle, is unclear.

The prospects for space tourism in China is examined in an Asia Times article this week. Industry officials agree that there’s tremendous potential in the Chinese market given its size, but for US companies export control restrictions would make it difficult to do business there. Also, the lack of a commercial space regulatory framework in China would hinder any effort for a domestic space tourism industry to develop.

There is, though, interest in space tourism in Mexico. The English-language Guadalajara Reporter said that an anonymous local businessman has signed up to fly with Virgin Galactic, becoming the first person from Mexico’s second-largest city to reserve a flight to space. Viajes Capistrano, the tourist agency who is one of five in the country that sells Virgin Galactic trips, is planning to make a bigger push for clients in the city in coming weeks.

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