The Obama administration is preparing for a space tourism industry that is expected to be worth $1 billion in 10 years, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration’s commercial space office said on Tuesday.
Rocket planes and spaceships to carry passengers beyond the atmosphere, similar to the suborbital hops taken by Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil “Gus” Grissom in 1961, are being built and tested, with commercial flight services targeted to begin in 2013 or 2014.
The boom in launch business is expected to begin this year, he said in the hearing, which was carried via webcast.
NASA has hired two companies, privately owned Space Exploration Technologies and Orbital Sciences Corp., to fly cargo to the International Space Station, a $100 billion research complex orbiting 240 miles above Earth. The contracts are worth a combined $3.5 billion.
Finding lost moon rocks is his mission: After NASA’s lunar voyages, the samples were given as goodwill souvenirs to states and nations. Many have gone missing. But an investigator’s on their trail.
TIL: “It is illegal for individuals, even astronauts, to own moon rocks.”
Photo: Joseph Gutheinz, a retired NASA investigator and self-appointed moon rock hunter, stands before the lunar samples vault at Space Center Houston. (James Nielsen / Houston Chronicle
It Was 40 Years Ago Today
On Jan. 5, 1972, President Richard M. Nixon and Dr. James C. Fletcher, NASA Administrator, discussed the proposed Space Shuttle vehicle in San Clemente, Calif.
The President announced that day that the United States should proceed at once with the development of an entirely new type of space transportation system designed to help transform the space frontier into familiar territory.
Image Credit: NASA
Station Commander Captures Unprecedented View of Comet
NASA - International Space Station Commander Dan Burbank captured spectacular imagery of Comet Lovejoy as seen from about 240 miles above the Earth’s horizon on Wednesday, Dec. 21. Burbank described seeing the comet as “the most amazing thing I have ever seen in space,” in an interview with WDIV-TV in Detroit.
Ian Simpson at Reuters - NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered the first Earth-size planets orbiting a sun-like star outside our solar system, a milestone in the search for planets like the earth, the space agency said on Tuesday.