16 January 1998
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Highest Flight
From "The Rapidly Changing Face of Computing", a weekly technology journal providing insight, analysis and commentary on contemporary computing and the technologies that drive it, available at http://www.digital.com/rcfoc/:

Finally, the rapidly changing face of computing, and of technology in general, might just give us the opportunity for an ultimate vacation.

I thought that my one magic trip on Concorde, where I could just begin to see the earth curve away under a dark purple daytime sky at 58,000 feet and 1,680 MPH, would be as close as I might ever get to actually touching space. But now, if I save my pennies -- a LOT of pennies, 9,800,000 pennies to be exact -- Zegrahm Space Voyages is offering to lift passengers to above 327,000 feet at 2,300 MPH, where we can experience two minutes of weightlessness and see for ourselves that the earth is indeed not flat. (Check out the view from a mere 120,000 feet at http://www.spacevoyages.com/120kft.html).

The first flight is scheduled at the end of Arthur Clarke's auspicious year of 2001, and will take place in a custom-made vehicle (http://www.spacevoyages.com/factsheet.html) being developed by Virginia-based Vela Technology Development, Inc.

Of course, without casting any aspersions on Zegrahm Space Voyages, I do recall years ago that Pan Am's "First Moon Flight Club" sold "guaranteed reservations" for the first commercial trip to the moon... But Zegrahm is looking at a much closer, defined date, and the state of the art has progressed. A lot.

Will this come to pass? I do hope so. It will be fascinating to watch how they deal with the technology and regulatory issues over the next four years. But for now, you can explore Zegrahm's plans in general at
http://www.spacevoyages.com/, and drool over -- I mean peruse -- their brochure at http://www.spacevoyages.com/brochure.html.

We do live in interesting times...
Source: The Rapidly Changing Face of Computing

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16 January 1998
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