Thursday, April 20, 2006

Mos Eisley, NM

Well, who'd have thought it, eh? Little old Earth now has its very own fully operational commercial spaceport! Not that we're expecting tourists from Outer Betelgeuse to drop in any time soon or creating a little hideout for intergalactic bounty hunters - as interesting as those scenarios would be - but mankind's quest for the stars takes an important sidestep with this announcement.

Elsewhere, China and India have expressed interest in visiting the moon, and NASA put forward plans to use it as a staging post on their way to Mars, but the New Mexico spaceport takes space out of the hands of government space agencies, and puts in the hands of the man on the street. At $200,000 a trip, you may say it's a pretty select street, but then, airline flights, cars, TVs & computers... all started out effectively as playthings for the rich before the technology became cheap enough for mass consumption.
All of which means that science fiction writers can use holidays in orbit, on the moon or even Mars as settings for stories, with a fairly solid basis in current plans. I'm quite excited at the whole idea, having touched on this kind of 'space tourism' in Countless as the Stars, which, of course, is going to earn me the $200k I need...
The first launch from the spaceport is planned for July - I think they should invite Ash to play at the post-launch party.

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