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It'S 1849 Again.


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<p>It always made more sense to me that mining asteroids would be the next logical step of space development. I just didn't see enough people paying for space tourism (couple of hours of flight to experience heavy g's, weightlessness and look out the window is worth a quarter of a million a pop perhaps, but how large of a passenger pool would one have to have to maintain the industry over time, and if there are health issues involved, well even if you have the money you couldn't fly. There are still a lot of young millionaires I guess.</p>

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<p align="justify"><font style="font-size: 8pt; ">Virgin Galactic’s sub-orbital space trips promise to be the most intense and wonderful experiences that passengers have ever had. Astronauts of the past 45 years have all returned to earth struggling to convey the enormity of what they have discovered and with their perceptions clearly changed. To be able to extend that privilege to people from all walks of life has been a long held ambition at Virgin. To date almost 500 tickets have already been sold!</font></p>

<p align="justify"><font style="font-size: 8pt; ">Astronauts will spend 2 to 3 days of training at or near Spaceport America in New Mexico before embarking on their sub-orbital flight. You will fly in SpaceShipTwo (SS2) designed and built by Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites and based on SpaceShipOne which has completed 3 sub-orbital flights and won the Ansari X Prize in 2004.</font></p>

<p align="justify"><font style="font-size: 8pt; ">SS2 will be carried by a revolutionary mothership called WhiteKnightTwo. She will climb to a height of around 50,000 feet (approximate cruising altitude of Concorde) where SS2 will be released before firing her rockets and accelerating in a vertical climb reaching speeds in excess of mach 3.3. Shortly afterward SS2 will slow to allow you to enjoy zero gravity and continue to climb to a total altitude of 110km or 360,888 feet – that’s 10 kilometers or 33,000 feet into space! After enjoying some of the most spectacular views and sensations ever experienced by humankind, the wings of the spacecraft will feather to allow a safe re-entry at around 6 g’s. After re-entry the wings will re-configure to allow a gentle glide back to the spaceport. On your return to terra firma you will be given your Virgin Galactic astronaut wings! Visit our Video Gallery to see first hand what awaits Virgin Galactic Astronauts..</font></p>



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<p>Will be interesting to see if either of these projects take flight. If one has to choose, I'd go for the mining, tend to have a more long term effect as well as benefits more people with lower costs while tourism pretty much creates job and maybe some infrastructure, but doesn't really spread the benefits around all that much.</p>


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I dunno that asteroid mining will benefit anyone, anymore than heightened gold production benefits anyone except those who first lay hands on the gold and spend it before the market reacts by lowering the price - except, in this case, it's supposed to be platinum. Hence the reference to 1849.

I would not mind taking a week-long vacation on a space station, though, but it looks like what Virgin's offering is a glorified vomit-comet - no space station at all! See the sights and come straight back! 200,000 for that???


I wonder that as well.

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