Capitalism in space: For those considering spending millions to buy an orbital tourist flight from SpaceX, a new company, Orbite, is now offering for only $29,000 a three day high-end astronaut training vacation that will include a short zero-gravity flight on an airplane.
[CEO Jason] Andrews and Orbite’s other co-founder, French-born tech entrepreneur Nicolas Gaume, have set the schedule for astronaut orientation courses that’ll include virtual-reality simulations, a zero-G flight and a high-G flight — all designed to provide a taste of space without tying the participant down to a particular program.
The first session will take place Aug. 23-27 at La Co(o)rniche, a five-star boutique hotel on France’s Atlantic coast that’s owned by Gaume’s family. Three other sessions will be offered at the Four Seasons Resort in Orlando, Fla., starting on Nov. 11, Nov. 25 and Dec. 2. Each session is limited to 10 participants.
Zero Gravity Corp. and Europe’s Air Zero G by Novespace will fly the participants on airplanes that can provide measured doses of weightlessness, about 30 seconds at a time. Other subcontractors will put them in the cockpits of planes such as P-51 Mustangs or Extra 330LX’s, which can deliver multiple G’s of acceleration.
In essence these training sessions are nothing more than a dressed up expensive vacation, though surely unique.
None of this training will qualify someone to fly in space, but it will give potential orbital and suborbital customers a taste of what to expect, which should help them decide if they want to cough up the bigger bucks necessary for the real deal.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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