VG News: Mark Burnett Franchises Space Race Show to India, Ashton Gets Sick

Ashton Kutcher, future millionaut. (Credit: David Shankbone)
Ashton Kutcher, future millionaut. (Credit: David Shankbone)

A couple of other Virgin Galactic space tourism items this morning, including a TV show in India:

The Indian version of upcoming American TV show Space Race will chronicle the struggle of 16 competitors vying for the coveted spot on the spacecraft.

Interestingly, the rights to the show, created by LA-based TV producer Mark Burnett (of Survivor and The Apprentice fame), have been acquired by a Mumbai-based production house for the Indian market. “Yes, we have acquired the rights for an Indian version. We got it last month (in October),” says Akash Sharma, co-founder and managing director, Bulldog Media & Entertainment.

Meanwhile, Ashton Kutcher’s training for his upcoming SpaceShipTwo flight got a little messy:

He tells U.S. chat show host Ellen DeGeneres, “The zero G thing, they call it the ‘Vomit Comet’ – it’s aptly named. It’s an airplane that does these parabolas in the air. You go up, and when it starts to dive down, you’re at zero Gs and you have to take the G forces coming up.

“But vomit behaves differently in zero G. When you throw up in the vomit bag, it just kind of stays there, with you, when you’re flying.

“And apparently they sent out a memo out the day before that we weren’t supposed to drink. I didn’t get the memo. And then you’re apparently not supposed to eat before. I didn’t get that memo either.”

Will America lose its leading role in space?

The Houston Chronicle is concerned that the United States will lose its leading role in space exploration.

The Chronicle’s editors are primarily worried about a possible five-year gap in human spaceflight that could follow the retirement of the space shuttle in 2010. It may take NASA that long to get its new Constellation system online. In the meantime, NASA will be dependent upon the Russians for rides to the International Space Station. And China will be expanding its human spaceflight program.

“Congress should heed U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and other lawmakers who are pressing for an additional $2 billion to speed up the construction of the Orion vehicle,” the editors say.

Griffin discusses China’s rise, shuttle’s future

Last week, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin sat down the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board and reporter Eric Berger to discuss a range of issues. Some highlights:

Griffin is opposed, for reasons of safety and cost, to efforts by Congressman Dave Weldon and others to extend the shuttle program beyond 2010.

China will “probably” get to the moon before the United States. “They are constructing a very well-crafted space program. They are doing things on a number of fronts — economic, political, military — that seem to have the intent of establishing China as a strategic power in the world.”

Griffin does not want another “space race.” Although the Apollo program was a stunning achievement, America was not able to use it as part of a long-term space exploration effort with sufficient political and public support.