As technology continues to take us to the stars, increasing opportunities abound for private entrepreneurs to market space travel to the ordinary civilian. Well, well define that word ordinary a bit more shortly.
Virgin Galactic is planning to offer rocket rides into space from a terminal base in New Mexicos Jordana Del Muerto Desert. After three days of training, you will lift off horizontally in the SpaceShip Two, which is cradled within the larger mother ship, WhiteKnightTwo. Once WhiteKnightTwo has reached 50,000 feet, SpaceShip Two will be released to ignite its own rocket engines. Over the next 30 seconds your craft will reach 2,500 mph.
Once free of the earths gravitational power, you and five cohorts (plus two pilots) are free to unfasten your seatbelts and enjoy weightlessness for a few moments. Your total time in space will only be about four minutes. Nevertheless, you will get to peer into the blackness of outer space unlike most humans ever have.
Now, about that definition of ordinary. Virgin Galactics success depends on its catering to a very select demographicthe very wealthy. The ticket price (round trip only) is $200,000. So, ordinary means you are not a professional astronaut, and youre ready to burn money faster than rocket fuel.
Do you think the company has a viable business plan? I vote yes; almost 500 customers have already put down $65 million in deposit fees. And hey, lots of people want to be space cowboys.