Florida Today on Suborbital Flight: We Like It!

Gear down. (Photo: Mark Greenberg)

In an editorial, Florida Today is effusive about the potential of the suborbital spaceflight:

Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates.

Names ring a bell?

They were the wizards of the late 1970s who turned primitive personal computers into a global industry that revolutionized communication and provided the framework for the Internet Age.

Today, another band of visionaries is striving to bust open another market that holds promise for the post-shuttle Space Coast:

Suborbital flights that would carry passengers, experiments and satellites from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, launching a new job-creation industry here.

The support and enthusiasm is encouraging, especially for a nascent industry that hasn’t actually flown anything into space yet. And the potential for growth and job creation is massive and much needed in Florida.

But, I’m not sure I would go that far: much of the growth of computer technology stemmed from its ability to tie into mass personal communications, which was already a multi-billion dollar industry. Suborbital spaceflight don’t have quite that reach and, until point-to-point travel becomes a reality, it won’t tap into the colossal marketing for transporting goods and people from place to place.

Journalists and the industry would do well to carefully calibrate their expectations to avoid overselling things.