One giant leap for space travel

The whole space tourism scenario has taken another step forward with the privately sponsored SpaceShipOne scudded off into space for the second time in a week to easily beat the previous flight-altitude record for an air-launched craft and grab a $US10 million prize to boot.

Designer Burt Rutan built SpaceShipOne and now plans to built a whole fleet for Virgin boss and adrenalin junkie Richard Branson. Mr Branson has recently formed Virgin Galactic and wants to offer space flights by 2007.

If you have a spare $US190,000 you might want to pop over to Aussie because it will be home to one of the five planned rockets. I’m not sure what sort of stamp you’ll get on your passport, or whether you’ll need a visa, and I’m pretty sure sending postcards won’t be an option.

For $US190,000 I’d at least expect a couple of good restaurants and a suntan.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen funded the building of SpaceShipOne with donations of about $US20 million. Perhaps he could throw in a little more cash to develop a rocket with onboard nightclub.

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