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Boeing Teams To Offer Spaceflight Trips

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the to-the-moon-alice dept.

Space 59

coondoggie writes "Aerospace giant Boeing and outer space tourism proprietors Space Adventures teamed up today to offer low Earth orbit (LEO) flight services onboard Boeing's future commercial crew spacecraft. Under this agreement, Space Adventures will market passenger seats on commercial flights aboard the Boeing Crew Space Transportation-100 (CST-100) spacecraft. Boeing's CST-100, which is under development, can hold seven and is bigger than NASA's Apollo orbiter but smaller than NASA's Orion."

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59 comments

One critical question (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33597398)

Does this count as an international flight? And if so, are alcoholic beverages included in the ticket price?

Re:One critical question (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598498)

"Does this count as an international flight?"

If it is an orbital flight I would guess it counts as international, although I remember another tourist flight that went from Aucklnad to Chistchurch via antarctica. It was 'officially a domestic flight (even when the last one ended up slamming into MT Erebus (but hey thats in the part of antarctica claimed by NZ)

"And if so, are alcoholic beverages included in the ticket price?"

I'm thinking that consuming alcohol before or during time in zero gravity is probably not recommended. You should wait until landing to have your Pan-Galactic Gargle-blaster

bah (2, Informative)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 3 years ago | (#33597416)

If you gonna do it, do it in style. Die in a homebuild rocket [copenhagen...bitals.com] dragged behind a homebuild submarine.

Re:bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33597598)

If you gonna do it, do it in style. Die in a homebuild rocket [copenhagen...bitals.com] dragged behind a homebuild submarine.

Absolutely hilarious. This line had me lolling all over the place.

Re:bah (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598454)

Wow, that looks like it's right out of Legoland! The sub was funny enough, I didn't even realize it was a full scale rocket until I saw the pictures of the dummy (with a cosmonaut helmet, no less!) standing in the nose cone...

Re:bah (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599744)

The submarine was the group's previous project, and seems to run just fine. They are using the submarine merely because it is handy and are trying to make use of all of their available resources, not because they particularly need a submarine.

The last launch attempt was aborted due to a hair blower that they purchased at a local department store that got disconnected from its power supply and caused an LOX valve to seal shut. A similar kind of valve heater by one of the larger companies would have cost at least thousands of dollars. Considering they are going to be able to re-create Alan Sheppard's flight for around $100k (including development costs), I think these guys are certainly ones to watch. It is also nice to see Europeans getting into the race for private spaceflight, although this is hardly the only European company involved with building launchers as well.

To me, the most promising is ARCA [arcaspace.ro], based out of Romania and launching into the Black Sea. Their staging system is perhaps the most unique system I've ever seen in my life, where the "top" stage of the rocket pulls up the rest of the spacecraft with a tether. This video [youtube.com] is one that simply must be seen to be believed and certainly is out of the box thinking by doing something nobody else has ever even tried. ARCA has also made several launch attempts to get the concept down and are getting closer to putting something up. They plan on eventually (within the decade) get to the Moon and land something up there... hopefully to win the Google Lunar X-Prize. At least they are a major competitor.

Still, Copenhagen Sub-orbital seems like they might also have a profitable niche market. Their test flights are out of the Baltic Sea, which makes life pretty exciting in terms of a missile test range.

Re:bah (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#33602042)

To me, the most promising is ARCA, based out of Romania and launching into the Black Sea.

Doesn't seem to be very 'payload friendly'. Being dragged behind the exhaust of three booster stages seems, well, just wrong.

Unless you're the lead dog, the view never changes sort of thing.

Re:bah (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33606186)

The primary reason for this system of launchers being dragged behind the firing stage is to set up an assembly line of boosters that all have the same components. In other words, you improve reliability and decrease cost simply through economies of scale and turning out three or four of the same part (or more) for each flight. It also helps in terms of an emergency abort, where you may lose one stage but the subsequent stages can carry on as if nothing happened... other than you may not achieve orbit. Abort modes certainly don't need to be strictly launch or blow up the whole system.

Re:bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33606124)

I am an aerospace engineer and don't see at all how ARCA's architecture is applicable to a lunar flight. The balloon loft gets you about jack shit in energy--it just gives you altitude. The tethering only works because the engines are relatively low-output. That's a neat stability concept, and I'm undecided as to how it compares to regular staging for a rocket of that class, but I really don't see doing anything of the sort on an orbital rocket, let alone a lunar rocket.

Coming soon: (3, Interesting)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#33597440)

I wonder how long it'll take before the 'cheap-o' airlines get wind of this and squash 50 people in the same space.

Re:Coming soon: (1)

Fackamato (913248) | more than 3 years ago | (#33597544)

I wonder how long it'll take before the 'cheap-o' airlines get wind of this and squash 50 people in the same space.

"in the same space"

Hah!

Re:Coming soon: (1)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598222)

A very long time. Mass travel depends on desirable destinations and there simply aren't any in LEO or space: it's in and quickly out. Completely incomparable with the frontiers on earth as those at least had the potential to be settled, did get settled and turned into purposeful destinations. Until we get space hotels, moon bases and mines... cheap space travel is simply not going to happen.

Re:Coming soon: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33599976)

You're trying to make sense in a Space Nutter thread. Go away with your logic and facts! We want rockets, damn it!

Re:Coming soon: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33599622)

Remember to read the small print - they might advertise it as a ticket to Mars, but actually you'll end up at a provincial spaceport somewhere on Phobos and have to pay for the cab yourself.

oh well (3, Insightful)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33597462)

like a lot of things, getting off the planet will start off as an exotic fad for the ridiculously rich. as a scientist, I'm disgusted... but it's probably the only realistic option for progress on this front.

Re:oh well (2, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33597526)

Yeah but they won't stay rich very long if they keep doing it...

Re:oh well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33597786)

Yeah but they won't stay [rich^H^H^H^H] very long if they keep doing it...

FTFY

Re:oh well (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598352)

Generally, if you got rich enough to afford this, then you will have no issue staying rich. Even the US taxlaws are built around ensuring that.

Re:oh well (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599198)

Yeah but they won't stay rich very long if they keep doing it.

A fool and his money are soon parted...

Re:oh well (5, Insightful)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 3 years ago | (#33597754)

To be fair, I thought so far more scientists had been sent into orbit than uber-rich people

Re:oh well (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598034)

you're right. but it's my impression that we are now around a tipping point when improvements to the various technologies are (will be) made by for-profit companies, as opposed to state funded agencies.
think about automobiles: the first people to drive them were their inventors, but what followed was a period of novelty status, up to the point where the technology improved enough so that more people could afford them. In fact, I think the same thing is happening with electric cars now (actually, electric car batteries).

Re:oh well (1)

aliddell (1716018) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598082)

That doesn't, actually, make it a bad thing, though. I could go through the standard spiel about competition driving innovation, but the last thing I want is to start an ideology war in this thread.

Suffice to say that it doesn't much matter how we get up there, as long as we get up there.

Re:oh well (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598378)

And it will remain that way for a LONG LONG TIME. The CST will be used for transportation to private space stations. Who will buy the majority of them? Other nations. Brazil, India, Japan, Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, etc. will all want to create their own astronaut core and put ppl up there. WHy? For the day that private space goes to the moon. Likewise, for trying unique production of goods in micro G.

Re:oh well (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33599384)

Wow, a real, live Space Nutter. How does it feel to be so clueless?

Please name one single manufactured item that needs micro gravity? That was a canard even in the '60s.

Re:oh well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33599878)

Well you see you can have ants sort and screw in those really tiny screws they use in watches.

Re:oh well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33599228)

Why? As a scientist, you should know the tremendous energy cost to go to orbit far outweighs anything we can get back from it. You should also know space is empty. Furthermore, you should know space is no place for human beings. Between having no air, water, food, or even temperature, free-fall is very damaging to humans.

There's nothing out there, space will never be more than a stunt for rich people as you say.

Why would you want to get "off this planet"? It supplies us with everything we need, and guess what? It's ALREADY in space!

Sorry, but you are going to wait a long time for space to be more than a place for satellites. Actually, you should work on human life extension instead of tilting at space windmills.

Re:oh well (4, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599370)

as a scientist, I'm disgusted

I have found that you can't do much with the disgust of scientists. It's too freely given.

but it's probably the only realistic option for progress on this front.

So what you're saying is that you should feel gratitude instead.

My point behind this little bit of snark is that here you admit that this is likely to be a very important pathway to getting stuff off planet. It is progress, that will lead to such things as cheaper access to space and subsequent greater ability to make scientific discoveries and inventions in space, for example. Yet I get the impression that you'd rather spurn this boon, if you could.

As I see it, the lack of gratitude, for things that help scientists, but in a crass way (or in some cases, anything that triggers feelings of inferiority), is a psychological problem with the scientific community and one of many problems that I think sap scientific progress. It demonstrates bias in a community that supposedly strives to eliminate bias. I think you should waste no time on feeling disgust and instead ask "How can I/we take advantage of this situation?" After all, a spacecraft that can take cavorting rich people into space can also take experiments.

Re:oh well (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33601244)

ok, disgust is a strong word.

but it's kind of similar to the feeling I have when I see that normal people have morality out of fear from some god(s) rather than understanding (they do what their priest/whatever tells them to do, they don't try to understand why they should do a certain something).

I would like people to understand more about what they are doing. I would like a paris hilton like person to go to space because they are excited at the prospect of moon/mars colonies, not because "everybody important is doing it".

It's a very complicated situation, and a very complex set of feelings. I wanted to say it anyway: human society is still dependent on a few people doing "crazy" things for progress in some directions, and I would like the need for progress to be understood by all.

Re:oh well (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599448)

Why are you disgusted? Human spaceflight has never really been for a science, robots tend to be better for that (but then again I'm at JPL so I may be biased).

The only real sustainable purpose of human spaceflight is to learn how to do it for its own sake. For settlement. In order to that right, the costs for launch need to come down so that a person can permanently go somewhere for around a family's life savings. The only way to do that is to reduce costs, and a market with multiple competitors *and* multiple customers is the best way to do that. And like all new technology, it will start out only for the rich, and come down in price as the tech improves.

Besides, the customers for this are in the vast majority going to be other countries, not rich vacationers. Imagine India or Brazil being able to launch their own people into space without having to wear a NASA badge, and be able to go to their own Bigelow station. If they could have their own space station program for a few billion a year, I think quite a few countries would jump at the chance.

Re:oh well (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33606296)

I think both Brazil and India would likely get into the international space transportation market themselves sooner or later. If they go up on these rockets, it will be to get some experience and training from American astronauts to build their own astronaut corps. Both countries have access to some pretty good spaceport access areas and in fact better latitudes than even KSC. They also both have the money and an indigenous rocket industry of their own that seems to be doing just fine.

Countries that may be more interested would be some place like Germany or South Korea that have money but lack the spaceport facilities for going into space from within their own country. Even France has to launch their rockets from South America (via the ESA).

Re:oh well (1)

J05H (5625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599844)

Why are you disgusted? For a long time, the only people in space were military men. At least private space offers the opportunity for (richer) normal people to fly.

From the perspective of an entrepreneur, space is a place for industry, tourism, services and research, not just for research.

tl;dr - NASA won't do this for us.

Why? (4, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599962)

The practice of soaking the rich for exorbitantly-priced luxury goods/services in order to fund technological progress is one of my favorite features of capitalism. They become less rich and I get affordable cool shit several years down the road.

Re:Why? (1)

kanda (624761) | more than 3 years ago | (#33607826)

"The practice of soaking the rich for exorbitantly-priced luxury goods/services in order to fund technological progress is one of my favorite features of capitalism. -pavon"

That will make a great quote. I like the favorite feature part a lot.

Re:oh well (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33613178)

Disgusted? Why? If it becomes common enough, it will become cheaper, and maybe someone will get the bright idea that if tourism is cheap there must be another way to make money here, like space stations functioning as hotels with a permanent crew. A crew that might survive a catastrophic event on the Earth. Then maybe they'll get the idea that maybe we should go out to the asteroids, mine them and make some more money, and so on, and so on.

At this point we're getting no place fast, if there is a business side to the equation, it just might speed things up.

killing other peoples' kids, while smiling at US (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33597762)

please stop giving them money/power/position/permission/adoration. once you know something & pretend it isn't so, the result is different than when one maintains complete genuine ignorance. so, please find more ways today, to separate yourself/those around you from the corepirate nazi holycost/shitslide into hell we're being song&danced into.

no space station no point (1)

jewishbaconzombies (1861376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33597806)

Great - you can look at the control panels or get farted on by the mission commander while attempting to look out a window smaller than a laptop screen. Unless you're going somewhere or have a view - forget it.

Re:no space station no point (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598868)

Boeing and Space Adventures are planning on docking with a space station built by Bigelow Aerospace [bigelowaerospace.com]. One of the planned space stations is going to have more volume than the International Space Station... at a fraction of the cost. There is a reason why Bigelow is expanding their manufacturing facilities too, as noted on the main web page for the company... people are starting to put money down on their products.

I think the view will be much nicer than the laptop screen sized window in the spacecraft, and you don't have to squeeze past the pilot in order to get that view as well.

Free of the 'shackles' of a Billion dollar subsity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33597926)

Oddly the $18 million dollar contract NASA is giving them to help develop this concept is likely less money than they earned from one shuttle launch.

Now that competition has started in the launch business maybe we can get some real cost savings. All it took was the administration of a Socialist Fascist Kenyan native (or so I'm told by Fixed News)

Re:Free of the 'shackles' of a Billion dollar subs (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598198)

I've seen this statement made in several places:

The Democrats don't think free enterprise works below the sky, and the Republicans don't think it works above.

It amazes me to see a huge number of Republicans advocate for a central bureaucratic government authority with massive taxpayer subsidies and increased federal authority with the current Democratic presidential administration that is advocating for the elimination of federal bureaucracies, privatization of government services, and elimination of subsidies.

For myself, I think privatization of spaceflight is a very good thing, and it can only mean better things for America in the future. NASA isn't going anywhere, but they are no longer going to be a transportation service provider.... being Amtrack in space. Thank goodness too, as this is something that has been long overdue.

Re:Free of the 'shackles' of a Billion dollar subs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33598468)

For myself, I think privatization of spaceflight is a very good thing, and it can only mean better things for America in the future. NASA isn't going anywhere, but they are no longer going to be a transportation service provider.... being Amtrack in space. Thank goodness too, as this is something that has been long overdue.

Main reason I think people are angry about the privatization is that, ignoring the anger about loss of pork which is probably a huge amount of it, it's probably because people don't know what NASA does other than "send people to space."

Once private spaceflight gets much more prevalent and self sufficient, expect lawmakers to stupidly say that NASA is useless and should be shut down.

Re:Free of the 'shackles' of a Billion dollar subs (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599290)

Once private spaceflight gets much more prevalent and self sufficient, expect lawmakers to stupidly say that NASA is useless and should be shut down.

Well said here. I agree that there will be people questioning what NASA is doing... and there already are some who "get it" in terms of seeing a group like Boeing fly up to a private space station that may cost less than a billion dollars for constructing a station 2x the size of the ISS and paying for the complete vehicle development cost & assembly. NASA doesn't seem to be able to clear their throat for less than a billion dollars.

I do know that NASA does much more than just fly people into space, and I hope they get back to that as their primary mission. Restoring NASA to a role similar to how the NACA used to work would be a much better use of government resources.

The Astroglide Principle (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 3 years ago | (#33599704)

The government sponsored technology research that NASA does to put things above the sky helps private industry thrive below the sky. Private space companies who want to make a quick buck probably won't do interesting research with great private industry payoffs in the long term.

Re:Free of the 'shackles' of a Billion dollar subs (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598404)

And yet, it is the neo-cons that fight against allowing private fixed costs space to take over on the launches. Yet, it is private cost plus space that has been doing the launches since the start.

Re:Free of the 'shackles' of a Billion dollar subs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33599496)

All it took was the administration of a Socialist Fascist Kenyan native (or so I'm told by Fixed News)

Or so I've been told by Obama himself...repeatedly...

I actually saw a video the other day with Obama giving a speech when he was a US Senator. [youtube.com] This isn't the same video I saw the other day. In the speech he clearly tells his story of how lucky he is to be a Kenyan born US American. So according to President Obama himself, he has committed fraud and does not legally qualify for the position he now holds. Again, that's from Obama himself. Obviously at the time, he had never considered running of presidency, else he wouldn't have made such a comment on video.

This is not the video I originally saw either. [vodpod.com] I looked quickly but couldn't find it. In the original video, it looks like he's giving a town hall speech and he's surrounded by the audience, like the first video up top. In that video, he squarely states he's Kenyan born and how wonderful American is that he's able to have reached his position.

Bluntly, Obama is a liar and has committed a huge fraud against America. [youtube.com]

Anyone who thinks Obama qualifies for Presidency has been duped. Obama does not qualify for the position of US President - according to Obama himself! Seriously, Obama himself says he's a Kenyan and seems to have a hard time remembering his own lies.

I think its sad that American's first black president doesn't qualify and has dishonored the title President. Likely its not been dishonored as such since Nixon was in office.

Re:Free of the 'shackles' of a Billion dollar subs (1)

Fished (574624) | more than 3 years ago | (#33602056)

The phrase is "native-born American." The Supreme Court has determined that this includes someone who is born of American parents abroad. Next?

Re:Free of the 'shackles' of a Billion dollar subs (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33605282)

The edit cuts are so bad it's laughable. This is the video equivalent of a ransom note with the words cut from a magazine. Even Breitbart isn't that crass in his editing.

future commercial crew spacecraft (1)

gravis777 (123605) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598156)

Yeah, until you actually have a product, I won't believe it. I wonder how many people still have reservations on TWA's moon-shuttle vehicle that they were promoting back in 1969.

Re: future commercial crew spacecraft (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598432)

There is quite a bit more in terms of real hardware that has been proven or is being proven than existed in 1969. Also... keep in mind who is making and marketing the CST-100 here: Boeing with Space Adventures as the marketing agent.

Boeing either owns or has a very close business relationship with every manufacturer that has flown people into space made by American spacecraft. Rockwell International, the company who built the Space Shuttle, is currently a subsidiary of Boeing. I think their cred in this case is pretty solid.

As for Space Adventures, they have flown several people into space already. Note this is history and past tense..... they have flown several people into space. This isn't just a pipe dream but people with real stories to tell about their experiences. All of those flights so far have been on of all things equipment designed by the Soviet Union, so it makes for even more irony that it has taken American companies more than a decade to discover capitalism after the Russians have been so proficient at it. In fact the one reason why it is becoming attractive to use American companies is because NASA has purchased all of the available slots on the Soyuz spacecraft over the next decade simply to give the NASA astronaut corps a chance to get some time in space... and RKK Energia is even expanding production to cope with that demand with the highest flight rate ever for the Soyuz spacecraft.

This is real stuff for a real product, and to compare this effort to a pure marketing promotion for a vehicle that might exist in the 21st Century (the flights on the TWA program weren't supposed to fly until after 2001 anyway) is disingenuous and hardly a fair comparison. If you read the fine print on the TWA promo, they never promised anything either.

Re: future commercial crew spacecraft (1)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598974)

Yeah, until you actually have a product, I won't believe it. I wonder how many people still have reservations on TWA's moon-shuttle vehicle that they were promoting back in 1969.

I still have my reservation. I've tried to call and confirm it, but those TWA guys have been really difficult to get a hold of for the past few years for some reason. Are you trying to suggest they might try to put me in an aisle seat when I specifically requested the window? That would really piss me off.

Details? What kind of Rocket? (1)

BodhiCat (925309) | more than 3 years ago | (#33598594)

Story is short on details. What kind of rocket? Solid or liquid propellant? Etc. It only show a picture of an Apollo-like capsule.

Re:Details? What kind of Rocket? (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 3 years ago | (#33600256)

Well, considering its Boeing, I'd venture a guess that its going to be one of the two vehicles they provide with ULA, their joint venture with Lockheed. Both the Atlas and Delta rocket families are liquid cores. Whether or not any solid boosters are involved will depend on the LV and mass (heavy configurations of Atlas require solid boosters, while the Delta IV heavy has two additional liquid boosters, although smaller Deltas have solid boosters as well).

But really, LV's are done and known. They need to be man-rated (a much fuzzier concept than many people think), but they're not vaporware. A specific capsule is not necessarily tied to a specific launch vehicle. Think of it as a question of commodity computers (mix-and-match capsule and LV) vs. Apple computers (integrated solution like the Space Shuttle).

Now, I would like to see significant work on a capsule besides some animations before I get too excited. But its not unreasonable to expect this to go somewhere.

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