Sub-orbital tourism prices fall

Tom James @ 04-12-2008

Space tourism business RocketShip Tours offers 38 miles straight up into space for less than half the cost of Virgin Galactic‘s 62 miles. Hopefully this is the first of many tumbles down the supply demand curve towards mass market space tourism, from PhysOrg:

Per Wimmer, a Danish investment banker holds the first reservation for the Lynx sub-orbital flight expected to launch sometime in 2011.

Mr. Wimmer hedged his bet by plunking down the necessary reservation fee to Richard Branson´s Virgin Galactic and another rival for commercial space travel, Space Adventure. According to Wimmer, “It will be a real race to see which one goes up first”. The main difference between the XCOR Lynx is its ability to launch on any 10,000 foot runway with clear air space.

Just to remind us the future is nearly here, there is a computer generated (natch) video of what it’ll look like:

[via PhysOrg][image from Marxchivist on flickr]


Virgin Galactic unveils WhiteKnightTwo space-plane

Paul Raven @ 29-07-2008

I’m guessing that if you have any interest in commercial space travel, you’ve already had a bit of a swoon over the pictures of WhiteKnightTwo, the Virgin Galactic launch vehicle unveiled yesterday by Richard “Virgin” Branson and Burt “SpaceShipOne” Rutan.

Still, no one’s gonna object to me reposting one from the Wired coverage, I assume:

Richard Branson exiting the Virgin Galactic WhiteKnightTwo launch vehicle

Very pretty. I was disappointed to find that my press invite to the unveiling must have gotten lost in the mail*, but BoingBoing‘s own Xeni Jardin was there with a camera crew, and she’s promising video footage imminently, so I won’t miss out entirely.

In the meantime: Rutan and Branson in white shirts with no ties against a pale blue sky – could the Wired snapper have made those images any more simultaneously secular and messianic than they already are? And who does sensawunda PR work better than Branson, other than science fiction authors? Discuss.

[ * – The same thing happened to my VIP ComicCon passes and complementary Burning Man tickets, apparently. Meh. ]