09 December 2012

"Space Tourism" - Closer, but still no cigar

Golden Spike Moon lander
I've long been irritated by the way thrill rides into space are dressed up as "Space Tourism" and disseminated to the travel media as if it has something to do with the travel & tourism industry.

I know it's sheer pedantry, but I can't help it! (See this rant in 2006 and this in 2008)

It's partly come about through Richard Branson's involvement and the fact that he has an airline (and a rail company). The Virgin brand doesn't send travel journalists press releases about their Virgin Money banking activities or Virgin Active gyms, but does send them news of their Virgin Galactic space activities - go figure!

I did relent a little in 2010 when I realised that with a little further development, Branson's space ships could take-off from one space port and land at another, which would instantly turn Virgin Galactic into a transport company. If/when they announce that prospect, that would bring it firmly into the orbit (sic) of travel journalists.

And I may have to relent at little at this week's news of The Golden Spike Company, the commercial space start-up who is proposing to take paying clients to the moon using off-the-shelf space vehicles & components.

They seemingly address one of my key points back in 2006...

"When Virgin Galactic start taking people for a fortnight on the Moon or Mars, that'll be 'Space Tourism'."

Well, Golden Spike are proposing to do just that. Maybe not for a fortnight - more like 24-48 hours - but their guests will travel somewhere, get out and explore a bit, and then return home.

Technically that hits my semantic golden spike right on the head!

But am I going to write it up as a travel story? Sorry, no. I'll still leave it to the aerospace journalists.

1 comment:

Stuart said...

Do you think space tourism will require people to be in top physical shape?

I'd love to photograph from the stratosphere but fear the costs will, to use what may sound like a pun, astronomical.