Saturday, July 9, 2011
NASA Astronauts and Techs Should Apply at Virgin Galactic
What should astronauts do now that the last shuttle mission has flown? And what about the technical people laid off as a result?
I'd recommend the most AMBITIOUS among them to apply as a pilots at private space companies, like Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTWO - which should be taking 6 tourists at a time into space in less than a year.
It could be five or more years to go into space any other way for these unique individuals - our nation's space pilots.
I personally interviewed the CEO of Virgin Galactic, George Whitesides, and was impressed with their operation and their plan. I predict that the FIRST private space company that will make entry into space routine for thousands if not millions of Americans will be Virgin Galactic. The first SpaceShipOne proved it could be done.
SpaceShipTwo makes it a commercial enterprise, taking ordinary people that can pay the price into a realm where only a few have traveled, at great expense. A shuttle launch costs a minimum of $1 billion dollars per launch! Private space companies can dramatically reduce that cost, faster, better, and definitely with less expense.
Richard Branson, the genius entrepreneur and founder of a series of Virgin businesses from Virgin Air to Virgin Galactic has said that the starting price of $200,000 for a couple of hours flying roller coaster ride - and a few minutes floating in space - will drop to $25,000 in a few years as space travel efficiencies kick in.
Branson has ordered at least four "SpaceShipTwo" aircraft to start his space enterprise. Think of them as the first "aircraft" for space travelers.
And these ships will need our nation's best space pilots. I am thinking of one who was an F-22 pilot, and new NASA astronaut. That's WHO I would want piloting my first trip into space on a SpaceShipTwo!
I certainly wouldn't be sitting as a space tourist passenger on a SpaceShipTwo with a pilot like the idiot flying the commuter plane who stalled the plane, killing everyone on board. Space is no place for 2nd rate pilots.
But there are many more companies than Virgin but it is poised to be the first one to show the world a new side of space - mass tourist space. Within one year SpaceShipTwo will carry more people into space than have been in space in the entire last half century!