Boeing said Wednesday that it was entering the space tourism business, an announcement that could bolster the Obama administration’s efforts to transform the National Aeronautics and Space Administration into an agency that focuses less on building rockets and more on nurturing a commercial space industry.
The flights, which could begin as early as 2015, would most likely launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida to the International Space Station. The Obama administration has proposed turning over to private companies the business of taking NASA astronauts to orbit, and Boeing and Bigelow Aerospace of Las Vegas won an $18 million contract this year for preliminary development and testing of a capsule that could carry seven passengers.
Current NASA plans call for four space station crew members to go up at a time, which would leave up to three seats available for space tourists. The flights would be the first to give nonprofessional astronauts the chance to go into orbit aboard a spacecraft launched from the United States. Seven earlier space tourists have made visits to the space station, riding in Russian Soyuz capsules.
“We’re ready now to start talking to prospective customers,” said Eric C. Anderson, co-founder and chairman of Space Adventures, the space tourism company based in Virginia that would market the seats for Boeing.......read the full article here.
I cannot believe my eyes. I am so glad to finally read about Progress in Space and Aeronautics. When I was very young and living in the Big Island, HAWAII I remember my fascination in Space and the stars that sparkled in it. I would sit on my driveway at night looking to the sky and waiting to see a falling star or trying to catch a cloud. In a world where I talk so much about nonsense and chatter away, when I look to the sky, it is the only thing I know that silences me. I can stare at it for hours without a thought, just taking it all in.
The Challenger flight that took the lives of Michael Smith, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, and Judith Resnik was devastating. I was in elementary school and remember how sad we all were. The Astronaut Ellison Onizuka was from Hawaii and his nephew Lonn Onizuka was a student in my class.
With this new announcement, I find myself viewing a future that is promising to my children. I see the awe in the sky and dreams my children will see in science and astronomy. I have seen the space program become less important to those that hand out the $$$$ and have seen where we could have been, but couldn't without the right funding. So Congratulations to the future that will allow more dreams of space exploration become reality!