Because it’s a Friday, and to end our blogging for 2008 (at least consistently. I’ll be blogging on and off throughout the holidays), I’ve decided to end on a slightly lighter note.
Fresh off my blog from yesterday about CRM and airline travel, I saw the U.S. Federal Aviation Association has given the green light to the New Mexico Space Authority (NMSA) for the world’s first commercial spaceport in New Mexico. You can read the details here, but the NMSA hopes to ink a deal with British airline mogul Richard Branson and with Virgin Galactic, a branch of Virgin Atlantic. They hope to fly 500 passengers a year at about $200,000 a ticket. The flight will last 3 to 4 minutes.
Where do we begin…
I’m not 100 percent sure if I’m okay with opening up low earth orbit (or even suborbit) to commercial endeavors, but what do I know. More importantly, I can’t wait to see the fallout with something like this once the first customer complaints start coming in. And at $200,000 a ticket, I assume Galactic won’t be charging extra for baggage. I’ll laugh if a Passenger Bill of Rights comes out of this.
In either event, kudos to Virgin Galactic. Branson has always managed to push the envelope and define new barriers. I’m sure he won’t fail to disappoint this time around either. The real kicker is that Virgin Galactic is leveraging open source software and practices during the development and for the operation of the plane.
Rest assured to future customers, because this is what will be taking them to 50,000 feet before the rocket ship (slung under the middle) releases and takes them into orbit. She’s called the WhiteKnightTwo, and her first test flight was today.