It seems that the “X prize” – the $10M award for the first private-sector people to achieve orbit, is heading well toward award.
The main purpose being, apparently, to bring space flight closer to the Everyman.
In an interview I watched the other day on television, the only other team considered to be an even partially viable contender for the prize is going to attempt their flight just three days after the Paul Allen team – and this other team has yet to even have a test flight in their “homemade” vehicle, built with far less funding.
The Seattle Times article makes some very good points about this activity being much like the early days of aviation – before any safety regulations were in place, not only for the crews, but for the peripheral public not even associated with the activity.
I’ve also heard rumours that Paul Allen has worked a deal with Virgin Airlines to offer space flight to the public, for around $200k – a flight that would culminate in approximately 4 minutes of “near weightlessness”. But the view should be most spectacular.
Well, it’s a beginning, I suppose, to a lot of nifty new stuff for us all. It certainly gives me a new appreciation for all those hobbiests I’ve known who built their radio-controlled high-speed hydroplane boats and aircraft!
But what a step to actually put yourself in one, and ride…
Hmm… I just found this – I guess the rumours are true….