Monday, October 11, 2010

Virgin Galactic spacecraft makes glide test

Just another step towards the future.
While NASA flounders in its own morass, the private sector takes over.  Virgin Galactic has just completed a successful test glide of its SpaceShipTwo, a spacecraft that is planned to take sightseers into low orbit and then return, all to the tune of $200K a pop.  A total of 340 seats have already been sold.
The idea of space tourism might not seem overly significant and perhaps a bit superfluous at present, and that's understandable.  But it is not the purpose of these spaceflights that carries weight, it is the movement and the vision that they represent, a movement that began with Burt Ruttan's first private sector, X-prize winning flight in 2003.  Humanity feels a destiny in the stars and won't wait around for government sanctioned action to get there.  Already, work is near completion on Spaceport America, the New Mexico location that the Virgin Galactic flights will take off and land from.  Commerce, that driving force of the Western world, will soon drive humans further out into space, whether it be for tourism or for mining minerals on the Moon.

So is it superfluous?  Perhaps.  But I certainly wouldn't mind a seat on one of those flights.

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