A new quarterly, New Space Magazine , has launched. It includes an article from Philip A. Janquart titled, “Space Tourism: Will it go far or fizzle out?” in which I’m quoted extensively. Some excerpts:
â€œVirgin has a lot of money and prestige behind it,â€ Messier told NewSpace Magazine. â€œThey are, kind of, the Goliath of the industry right now. They just completed another test flight. Itâ€™ll be interesting to see how fast they can move with the aggressive schedule they have. One question is their engine: they still need to do a lot of testing.â€
But, if Virgin Galactic is Goliath, XCOR and Armadillo are the â€œDavidsâ€ of the story.
â€œXCOR is a small, scrappy company,â€ said Messier. â€œXCOR is the expert at engines and I think they have a workable design and their funding now seems solid. They are looking at initial test flights by the end of 2011. There seems to be a lot of people interested in doing this (visiting space). The issue will be how good are the flights, reliability and a lot of other factors. But I think there is a market. Companies are also looking to the suborbital experiment market as part of their revenue streamâ€
There is also a sizable market developing for orbital flights. The Russians have been sending the very wealthy to the ISS (International Space Station) for years.
â€œThe missing link is a commercial transport to low-Earth orbit,â€ Messier added. â€œItâ€™s only about 250 miles up, but right now governments have a monopoly on it. Break that stranglehold, and you could see an explosion of commercial development in low-Earth orbit. In ten years, the space industry could be totally unrecognizable.
Read the full story.