Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Private space flight finally takes off

The successful launch, and subsequent docking with the ISS is the starting point of a new era in the human exploration of space. And this week Virgin Galactic got FAA approval to start testing their Spaceship Two for suborbital flights.

Private space flight is finally starting to "get off the ground" and I can't wait for it to start catching on. The prices involved for a private space flight is still out of reach for most, but given that people up until now has paid hundreds of millions of dollars to escape earth the $100k that Virgin Atlantic is charging doesn't seem that bad. And keep in mind that when commercial flight started earlier in the last century it was also only available for the very well off. I would be actually be surprised if the prices hadn't come down to a more reasonable price level that I could afford before I get too old to try the experience and me for one can't wait.

Space exploration is the only way to ensure the long (Granted extremely long) term survival of the human race and I hope that we will get started with more ambitious colonization of our solar system soon. By any luck we'll have both permanent moon & Mars bases before the next century comes along and hopefully a couple of asteroids that we can mine for minerals that are rare on the surface of the earth. I also hope by then we will have a space elevator constructed somewhere which will make leaving the earth gravity well no more complicated than taking a train ride is today.

Even though the first tiny steps taken these last few weeks might seem small I hope for all of ours sake that it is the beginning of a new push for humans to start exploring the world outside our little blue marble that we call home and this time driven by commercial interests instead of national pride because commerce will always be there while national pride comes and goes. It is tragic how it was almost 40 years ago since the last human placed it's feet on another celestial body, let's hope it will not be too many decades before we are aiming outwards again and this time lets hope we don't stop!

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