William Shatner will boldly go, and so will I

This is one of those things that Mothers around the world cringe at.

At some point in my life, I will go into space, and see the Earth as it truly is.

The XPrize contest to build a privately owned spaceship is over. It was won by Burt Rutans SpaceShip One (funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen). And deserdvedly so.. hopefully you’ve seen video of the ship in flight… it is a marvel of engineering, and just plain COOL! (Check out the XPrize site for video and details).

Anyway, it seems the contest has already been successful, or is at least on its way, in creating a real, private, if quite expensive space tourism industry. Richard Branson, of Virgin Airways fame… signed an exclusive deal to license and operate SpaceShip One spacecraft for his new “Virgin Galactic” company.

CNN is running a story on people who have already commited their $210,000 for a flight.

Near the top of the list, Captain Kirk himself… William Shatner. I wonder if he’ll wear his costume from the TV series and insist to sit directly behind the pilot. They’ll need to build him a bigger chair. I can just image him pointing out the window before the spaceship seperates and blasts off and saying, “2nd star to the left, and on until morning”.

Silly TV parallels aside, I just have to think this is the start of a whole new kind of tourism. Yes, it’s prohibitavely expensive for the average person right now. But in 20 years? 50 years? Who knows… I’d be willing to save up 10,000 for an experience of a lifetime like that. $10,000 for 3 1/2 hours… about the length of a baseball game.
But hey, that’s some homerun you’d see!

There are a couple Canadian companies designing much simpler (and thus possibly cheaper) ways to get people to space. Now that the XPrize contest is over, the pressure is off them to get it done before the end of this year…they were very close to a test flight before SpaceShipOne won the prize. I hope they can still maintain their focus and be successful. It’d be too cool to see Saskatchewan become the homebase of Canadian Space Tourism!

How long before there is an orbiting Space Hotel above Regina?

Saskatchewan “Land of Living Skies” indeed!

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