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Space tourism balloon company raises $7 million

Capitalism in space: The space tourism balloon company Space Perspectives has now raised $7 million for the initial development of their Neptune stratospheric balloon, designed to take tourists up to about 30 miles for long flights at the edge of space.

The company, with about 15 employees currently, will use the funding to continue development of Spaceship Neptune, a stratospheric balloon system designed to carry people to an altitude of 30 kilometers. Such flights would give people an experience similar to some aspects of spaceflight, notably the view.

A first test flight of the system, without people on board, is scheduled for the first half of 2021 from the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. “It will really take us through the concept of operations” of the system, Taber MacCallum, co-founder and co-chief executive of Space Perspective, said in an interview. “It allows us to jump into serious hardware testing.”

If all goes well, they plan to begin selling tickets next year as well, with the first commercial flight targeted for ’24. This funding round also likely puts the company ahead of its two Spanish competitors, who are presently tied up in litigation against each other.

The article also quotes company officials as lauding the FAA’s new revised licensing procedures, the first industry response I’ve seen to these new licensing procedures. The new rules [pdf] required a document 785 pages long (actually larger than the FAA’s first proposed revision), making it hard to determine their effect — for good or ill — without actually using them. This positive review by an industry user is a very positive sign.

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Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

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