4 October 2005
Opinion - Tourism (None)
Greg Olsen's Flight
A comment on the news
by Carol Pinchefsky
by Carol Pinchefsky

Reportage from around the globe have covered working tourist's Gregory Olsen's flight to the International Space Station. However, many seem to have missed the most noteworthy event of this journey: that it is, in fact, unremarkable.

Astronauts have traveled to space for decades, and Mir was not only a space station, it was a home for cosmonauts who lived there for year-end stretches.

Traveling to space by paying for it out of one's pocket, instead of a government-sponsored trip, is the more newsworthy item. Pay-as-you-go space tourism solicits news because of the extreme prices--US$20 million or so for a ticket to ride.

Will the media take note when a flight costs a mere US$10,000? And yet, that amount is the suggested price of a flight when suborbital flights reach maturity (it should, of course, cost more to reach the ISS). In the United States, Canada, Europe, and parts of Asia, many people could afford this.

When space tourism becomes common, news items like the above will cease to become news. Space Future eagerly awaits the day when the remarkable turns into the everyday.
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Carol Pinchefsky 4 October 2005
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