6 November 1998
Media - Tourism (None)
Buzz Aldrin Boosts Space Tourism on David Letterman Show
by Patrick Collins
Buzz Aldrin, space tourism's most famous supporter, appeared with David Letterman "the most powerful man in American broadcasting" on November 3. His invitation was triggered in part by the orbital trip being taken by the 77-year-old John Glenn.

David and Buzz spoke at length about the fact that general public space travel and tourism is now technically feasible, and is likely soon to become a profitable business. They talked of developments now under way, and Buzz argued that these developments are now inevitable.

Buzz also spoke about two of his own projects - his company ShareSpace, and the Starbooster two-stage winged launch vehicle.

Although David Letterman seemed somewhat sceptical, we have to live with this attitude of the media for the time being. Thanks to the decades-long influence of NASA and other cold-war-era space agencies, space tourism still seems a "far future" idea to most people. (For example Dan Goldin himself has suggested that it will be 50 years (?) before we see a space hotel! No way!) And most people still don't know that anybody can go. Which is why John Glenn's flight as a 77-year-old is useful in actually demonstrating this.

It's quite hard to believe that Buzz's appearance was only the second time that the subject of space tourism has ever received a reasonable airing on truly mainstream media - in late 1998. But as such it was great work. It will surely be the first of many more such appearances - especially in the 30th anniversary year of Apollo 11. We look forward to them.
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Patrick Collins 6 November 1998
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