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Commercial space flights possible in 2008


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#1    Rykster

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 03:26 PM

Commercial space flights possible in 2008
user posted imageWASHINGTON (AFP) - Commercial passenger flights into space could be authorized in the United States by 2008, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta told a group of space entrepreneurs.

Based on test flights of privately developed passenger spacecraft planned for next year, Mineta said, the department could issue licenses for commercial flights by 2008.

"The timeline isn't based on science fiction," he said in a statement released by the department.

"The timeline isn't based on science fiction," he said in a statement released by the department.

"It is a timeline based on the reality of where commercial space is today and where we expect the state of commercial space to be within two short years."

"We will move quickly to green-light flights that we know are safe," he told the Ninth Annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington.

Mineta's comments came just months after SpaceShipOne, developed by US investors and space enthusiasts, snatched a 10 million dollar prize as the first private spacecraft to prove its mettle in two closely scheduled launches last October.

SpaceShipOne, developed by aviation pioneer Burt Rutan, also smashed the sub-orbital flight altitude record, reaching 112 kilometers (69.6 miles) in its nearly 90-minute second flight in five days.

In December, British Virgin Group tycoon Richard Branson announced plans to build a commercial spaceport in New Mexico to launch his new Virgin Galactic space tourism business based on a second-generation, eight-passenger SpaceShipTwo that Rutan is developing.

With the southwestern US state also putting money into the project, construction could start as early as this year.

Branson said Rutan's company, which is partly financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, plans to build five of the new spacecraft, as well as a launch vehicle for them.

The prototype is expected to be finished next year and test flights are to start in 2008, according to Virgin.

Tickets for the first flights, which could start in 2009-2010, are expected to cost about 200,000 dollars, and some 40,000 people have already signed up, the company said in December.

Source: Yahoo News
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I would love to go!  I think that a private venture would be safer too.  While the crash of a commercial jetliner is devastating, it is also extremely rare considering how many flights there are.  It is poor business practice to kill off your customers.

Edited by Rykster, 13 February 2006 - 03:26 PM.


#2    MID

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 02:15 AM

I would say that 40,000 people signing up is an impetus to get moving on the project, but people have to understand that this is an infancy-stage research flight program.   Two ballistic-type jaunts into the fringes of space (and hairy ones, at that) do not in any way qualify the idea of private-industry commercial and safe spece flight in a few years.   Far from it.


However, if anyone can pull this thing off, Burt Rutan can...perhaps the finest aeronautical engineeerring mind on the planet.   Nonetheless, commercial space flight...taking folks into orbit for a joy ride...safely, is just a little farther than a couple years out.



#3    StalingradK

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 03:17 AM

waste of resources, unless we make a settlement on some other planet of satellite, this is pointless.

Get in the Puma!!!

#4    whoa182

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 09:19 PM

How is it pointless... Private space travel is really important for the space indsutry and will probably lead the way in the future. Space hotels by 2015 original.gif

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#5    Frosty

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 10:28 PM

First, the private sector must reach space before it can start talking about plans of space commercialization.

There is no god but fiction.

#6    Rykster

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 10:30 PM

^^^
That is what they are trying to do...

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#7    Synergy

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 06:06 PM

Here is an interview with Tom Valone that i found quite interesting. He is interviewed by Tim Ventura of http://www.americanantigravity.com . Tom mentions space tourism as being scheduled in the next 5 years. Very interesting interview in my opinion.

http://www.americanantigravity.com/video/T...P-Aug1-2005.wmv

Edited by Prophecy Guru, 25 February 2006 - 06:06 PM.

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#8    Rykster

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 06:10 PM

^^^
Gawd I wish I had been born 500 years later than I was.

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#9    Thanato

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 09:00 PM

Wow $200,000 thats cheap, and thats for the first few trips. I bet it will be under 10,000 dollars by 2020 if it keeps up with the 40,000 people.

Then i say 2020 we will have a MOON RESORT or a space cruise ship.

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#10    Scorpius

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 04:18 AM

Yea, $200 000 really is cheap.  At first my guess was in the millions.  I can't wait till it gets cheaper.  This is gonna have to go on my "to-do list" in the future.

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#11    Rykster

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 04:18 PM

Very cheap, but for a mere 20 million, you can get a ride on the ISS.  I would take that trip over a mere sub orbital flight.

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#12    Thanato

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 09:50 PM

^^ Ya but do you have 20 million?

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#13    Rykster

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 10:03 PM

^^^
Right now, I don't have 200k so it is really a moot point.  Just a matter of choice!

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#14    supercar

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 01:29 AM

There is an interesting alternative to using rockets to reach space. It's called a 'space elevator':

For a space elevator to function, a cable with one end attached to the Earth's surface stretches upwards, reaching beyond geosynchronous orbit, at 21,700 miles (35,000-kilometer altitude). After that, simple physics takes charge.

The competing forces of gravity at the lower end and outward centripetal acceleration at the farther end keep the cable under tension. The cable remains stationary over a single position on Earth. This cable, once in position, can be scaled from Earth by mechanical means, right into Earth orbit. An object released at the cable's far end would have sufficient energy to escape from the gravity tug of our home planet and travel to neighboring the moon or to more distant interplanetary targets.


http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/te...r_020327-1.html


#15    Rykster

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 01:19 PM

Arthur C. Clarke did a good bit with the space elevator idea.  I have read so many of his books that I have a hard time recalling which was what, but I think it was "Childhood's End."

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