Richard Branson has officially opened his own Spaceport in New Mexico. His aim is to make space travel an experience that can be open to the public, providing they can fork out $200 000 for the three and a half hour trip.
Before you think everyday people are going to go right into outer space like a REAL astronaut, these spaceships will only be doing sub-orbital spaceflights (click here to read more) which take you as far as the boundary of the Earth’s atmosphere and space. You can still experience the floaty, weightless bit that most people would love to do.

The Virgin Galactic Spaceport in New Mexico

Recently that bone-head from That 70s Show, Ashton Kutcher, has signed up to be one of the first passengers on board. There have been numerous eager beavers signing up from the celebrity world. Brangelina, Katy Perry, Tom Hanks and even Stephen Hawking has signed up for a flight……he’s probably hoping his shuttle will go through a black hole up there and make all his nerdy dreams come true. If they do go through a black hole, I hope Kutcher is on that flight so he can never return to make another lame comedy show and movie again.

In 1986, NASA attempted to make space travel a reality for all citizens, by having a private citizen on board for the first time. Like the other astronauts and engineers on board the Challenger Space Shuttle, the middle school teacher also had to undergo rigorous training to prepare her for outer space travel and the strain it has on your body.
The Challenger fiasco was supposed to be real deal, but the marketing/management chose to dismiss the technical warnings in their greed to make this an opportunity to rake in big bucks for the future. Sadly, after ignoring the warnings, those astronauts lost their lives 73 seconds into lift-off as the shuttle exploded with the faulty rocket booster that day. After that, NASA no longer conducted man flights into space anymore. Hence, that lame attempt to send that Wall-E cart onto Mars to get information instead.

Branson has ensured everyone that there will be no take off until everything has passed the safety checks and everything is in order. He hopes it will go from one flight a week to twice a day if all goes well and the orders come streaming in. Passengers will also have to undergo 3 days of pre-flight training.
With the Challenger tragedy, it does make one think if human beings are truly meant to be out there in space in the first place. We only went there through drive and determination out of sheer curiosity. It costs so much money, one has to go through so much physical training to just go beyond the Earth’s atmosphere and there’s so much risk involved.

If everything goes as planned the first commercial shuttle will go off at the end of 2012.

I travel abroad quite often, and I have come to hate flying. It’s always too long and you are cramped in a tight space with a million people for sometimes more than 10 hours. With all this need to break new boundaries in travel and the immense marketing, why the hell can they not bring the effing Concorde back???!!
The reason the Concorde did not make a comeback was because of bad PR and poor marketing. That was it. The fatal accident in France in 2000 was due to an unclear runway. Now most of us have to endure economy class in all it’s hell for way too long. Who’s gonna regularly go visit family, go work abroad or go on a vacation in outer space?

Visiting Aunty Noreen was always an out of this world experience

Branson is super excited about overtaking this next innovative form of travel for the common man. He owns just about everything, and has created so many opportunities and provided healthy competition in the business world.
Can you imagine if it becomes a regular thing to do in the world, with each country having its own spaceport?
I can’t imagine South African Airways even trying. They can’t even get a person to Bloemfontein with a smile.


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