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Wednesday, 31 March 2010


Florida? Bali? The French Riviera? Why not Space? We are talking vacations, of course. Just a few decades ago, you would have to be a sci-fri writer or a dreamer to even think of space tourism as something else than a mere fantasy.

Not so now. Thanks to the pionereering gamble of Sir Richard Branson and his VirginGalactic, space tourism is just a decade away.

"In 2003, luxury travel had 20 million customers globally and generated 91 billion in revenue, which represents 20% of tourism revenues worldwide. This large untapped market represents a unique chance for space tourism." (Véronique Ziliotto, Holland's European Space Research and Technology Centre)

In an informative comment i USA Today, Dan Vergano cites one poll, which found that "estimated demand for the year 2021 would be over 13,000 passengers, generating revenues in excess of US$600 million."

The Genesis II space station is an embryonic hotel, "testing and validating the technologies necessary to construct and deploy a full-scale, crewed, commercial orbital space complex".

You can order your ticket now, if you like. For the extremely rich, a price tag of $200,000 is not really a deterrent, and as the ticket price will drop to a mere $50,000 after three years, everything is set for space vacations, weddings and anniversaries. 1,4 million also sounds like a fair prize for a reality show, doesn't it? Become the winner of "Robinson" or "Fear Factor" or "Paradise Hotel", and you'll be on your way. Hey, why not make a completely new show: "Who wants to be a mill... space cadet"? Who will be the first artist to perform live "up there"? Lily Allen? Lady Gaga? And which network will transmit the concert?

2021 ... Well, what about 2041? Or 2081? Of course there will be hotels up there. Like maybe the Hilton Near Earth Excelsior. Or some other figment of my imagination.

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This is the Dassault Vehra, a compact small spacecraft of great versalitity and flexibility. An impressive machine, indeed.