It seems a number of people believe that there is a large enough market of customers willing to spend close to $ 100,000 each for a sub-orbital flight from earth. Granger Whitelaw, CEO of Rocket Racing, Inc. said that "The price of space is coming down to earth" as he announced a partnership between Rocket Racing, Inc. (RRI), Armadillo Aerospace and the government of New Mexico.
The propose that a fleet of reusable vertical take off and landing (VTOL) vehicles could be launched from Spaceport America near Las Cruces, NM. Each vehicle will provide a cabin where passengers can float weightless with a 360-degree view of space. Other companies entering the commercial space industry promise trips in vehicles which feature small porthole-sized windows for viewing with a cost of more than $200,000.
The companies plan to fly current conventional vehicles into space while developing a new manned prototype vehicle during 2009 with projected launch dates in 2010. These vehicles would also be used for a variety of high altitude experiments including reconnaissance and weather observations.
The Armadillo project plans to offer travelers a spectacular view of sub-orbital space at a price even those individuals Barak Obama puts in the not-rich category, bringing space travel possible to even Joe the Plumber. My, what is the world coming to?
Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds...and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of...wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up, the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, nor even eagle flew.
And while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space...
...put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.