Space Future has been on something of a hiatus of late. With the concept of Space Tourism steadily increasing in acceptance, and the advances of commercial space, much of our purpose could be said to be achieved. But this industry is still nascent, and there's much to do. So...watch this space.
Sadly, Lance Bass will not fly on the upcoming Soyuz “taxi flight,” as reported earlier. However, he is continuing his training, so the possibility remains open that he could fly next year. Bass has been tethered by a lack of necessary funding; his backers could not provide the $20 million in time.
A surprising number of "special reports" on the 21st century published in newspapers and magazines fail even to mention the possibility of space tourism - which shows just how blind they are. That's because the growth of space tourism is going to be a "core change" in human society through the 21st century, as the spread of air travel world-wide was a core change of 20th century society. (It would be an interesting project for a student (perhaps studying the history of technology?) to survey and record how inaccurate these turn-of-the-century articles were.)
A short article entitled, "Human Mars mission not a priority, Clinton says" (_Space News_, August 2, p 2) reports that on July 21, 1999, the US President told a press conference "...the benefits to us here on Earth of continued advances in space..." would capture the imagination of the American people more than going to Mars. This reflects what public opinion polls show and is perhaps to be expected from a President who became famous for his campaign slogan, "It's the economy, stupid".
The November/December 1998 issue of "STA Spacetrans", the newsletter of the Space Transportation Association, describes the first time that a NASA Administrator spoke out formally and positively in public about space tourism.
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.
Under the headline "Vacations in Orbit" journalist Jeffrey Kluger subtitled Time magazine's first article on the recent activities aimed at realising space tourism "Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin has flown in space twice. Now he's hoping to send you there too."
Until recently pointedly ignored by the "space establishment", the subject of space tourism continues to get discussed more and more seriously and frequently. In the February 9-15 issue of
Space News it appeared in two separate articles.
TV star Akiko Hinagata was given an out-of-this-world birthday present. During a televised celebration, her friends reserved a seat for her on the "space cruiser," a craft that could become the first private passenger vessel in space.
Hotel industry experts don't foresee orbital hotels soon
An article in December's "Wired" magazine entitled "Reality Check: The Future of Hotels" asked the question: "Might we one day blast off to soak in whirlpool spas in outer space?" It published comments on the idea from three hotel industry professionals.