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Russians Offering More Space Tourism

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the whats-the-airport-code-for-space dept.

Space 110

mduell submitted an MSNBC story about a company in Russia offering more trips to space. No docking with the space station for these tourists tho. No word on price... instead of a week in Soyuz capsule, how about you give me half of the multi-million-dollar-fee, and you can stay at my place and I'll get you drunk. You'll feel like you're in zero Gs, but with a bigger room.

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Re:Why doesn't the US do this? (2)

drsoran (979) | more than 13 years ago | (#213855)

The problem with this is people would only complain even more. "Why are we spending government tax dollars subsidizing space flight so a bunch of rich tourists can get their jollies orbiting the earth when we have children starving to death down here?" No, commercial spaceflight would be the death of NASA. If that's how it is to be then so be it but I don't think we can have a government agency subsidizing this kind of thing. $20 million is a piss in the bucket of how much it costs to fund a trip into orbit.

What is "corporate welfare"? (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 13 years ago | (#213856)

I saw alot of talk about "corporate welfare" in the 80s and early 90s and I've always thought...what is corporate welfare.

You take Federal funding and give it to companies and what happens to it? It will go to wages for employees, money spend on R&D, money spent on suppliers, contractors, etc. If the company getting the "corporate welfare" pays dividends...Shareholders get some money...at the very least stock prices go up.

Now in the welfare system, money is doled out and there is little to no return on it. So I think corporate investment is a better term for contracts like this than, "corporate welfare".

That's my offtopic remark. Ontopic, I think that the Russians should do whatever they want with space tourists as long as they don't use the ISS for sleepovers...at this time. Once it's finished...have all the sleepovers we can up there.

Kansas? (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 13 years ago | (#213857)

Nope. South Dakota, although I have family in Kansas on both the English and Potawatomi fronts.

Re:Uh oh. (2)

jafac (1449) | more than 13 years ago | (#213858)

"tourists" jump out of airplanes with parachutes on their backs every day.

Skydiving is as safe as you want to make it, of course. There are probably some good outfits out there, and others that are either run by idiots, or accountants who would cut corners for an extra penny. People can, have, and will continue to die skydiving. It does not deter more from trying "something thrilling". Part of the thrill is because it IS dangerous.

Is that for the whole package? (2)

jafac (1449) | more than 13 years ago | (#213859)

I mean, are meals included? What about booze? It would suck to pay that much money, and the food was bad. Or worse, it costs extra, and the prices are outrageous, and you can't exactly stop at McDonalds when you're travelling 17,000 mph.

The should have left MIR up there (3)

Sabalon (1684) | more than 13 years ago | (#213860)

They could have sent the capsules up to Mir and let it be the first space hotel - albiet not as nice as the one in 2001.

I'd love to see that brochure:
Come stay in Mir(*) - for just $500,000 a night (minumum 6 night stay). See tons of space debris. Spacewalk (way) above the sandy beaches of the Rivera. Battle space fungi. Join the 100-mile high club.

(*) requires return trip purchase on our carrier - round trip ticket, $20million - first class upgrades not available.

Re:Uh oh. (2)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 13 years ago | (#213861)

Dennis Tito had training, but his training would not neccessarily have kept him alive in all situations. After all, the astronauts who did in the Apollo I fire were well trained, and so were the Crew of the 1986 Challenger flight that ended in disaster. Likewise, many cosmonauts have also died due to equipment failure.

The Challenger exploded because of a faulty O-ring, not because of the preparedness of any of the astronauts. According to Richard Feyman, NASA, for various political reasons habitually understated the risk of a catastrophic accident. These artificially low risk assessments prompted NASA to recruit a civilian teacher, and to launch various government officials into space.

Space travel in inherently dangerous, and it is likely that space tourists will die as a result.

Insure the rich man's life? Why? Re:Personally.. (1)

Forge (2456) | more than 13 years ago | (#213862)

To clarify what Radja said. Rich people don't actually need life insurance. A lot of them have lots of insurance but the troth is they don't need it. Let me explain.

The whole point of Life Insurance is so that if you die suddenly your children, spouse and other dependents will not be left hungry and homeless. They will have a big lump some which if managed wisely can substitute for having the breadwinner active and about.

By this logic you need less insurance on your wife if she is a full time homemaker than you do if she has a high paying job. Remember, insurance is not a way to soothe emotional distress or mend a broken heart. It's just for filling in the financial loss.

This BTW is why classic cars like the 1963 (or thereabouts) Ford Batmobile are not really insurable. Even a brand new Bentley is no substitute.

Back to the topic. If you can find $40,000,000 cash at one time then you should give all your kids fat trust funds. Leave the life insurance for the man who makes $30,000 to $200,000 per year and has a $1,000 per month mortgage and school fees, car payments etc... to ensure he doesn't save more than 1/3 of that.
--
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
Whatever is said in Latin sounds profound.

"You will go to the moon!" (1)

Juliet (3536) | more than 13 years ago | (#213863)

This reminds me of the Moxy Fruvous song "You Will Go To The Moon"

"You will go to the moon
There's plans for a hotel and a lagoon
You'll be savoring a star fruit
And kicking off your moonboot
Oh you will go to the moon.

Hey, you will go to the moon
A paradise to rival Cancun
And one side's always sunny
You'll be raking in the money
Oh you get paid on the moon

It's been our most abiding dream
And a dream is an easy sell
And when the tourists come in droves
You'll be the big cheese on that orbiting rondelle"


Anyway.. I don't see this being a long-term trend.. There are only so many wealthy people who would pay 20 million to drink vodka in space..

Drunk? (1)

Gray (5042) | more than 13 years ago | (#213864)

Get them drunk? For that kind of money, I'll get you shit that will make you think you *are* gravity..

Hmmmmmm... (1)

soup (6299) | more than 13 years ago | (#213865)

Actually, how's about a Soyuz with 3 aboard to make an adult film? OK, so they're not on a space station, but I would imagine such a film would be WILDLY popular- or, at least, educational. We'd at least get documentation on the advantages (and disadvantages) inherent in specific exercises...

Am I the only one (1)

ehintz (10572) | more than 13 years ago | (#213866)

That finds the prospect of a drunken bender at the taqueria a truly terrifying proposal? At any price?

Regards,

Send up Gates and Mundie as next space tourists... (2)

DocSnyder (10755) | more than 13 years ago | (#213867)

...provided that the Soyuz runs "shared source" and bluescreens in the orbit. A small step for a man but a giant leap for mankind... ;-)

Re:Is this really a good idea? (2)

Delphis (11548) | more than 13 years ago | (#213868)

What's wrong with getting a few wackos with millions of dollars of spare change to fund all this research though? .. IMHO, NASA screwed up by not grabbing this guy Tito's money in the first place and putting it into a project like the ISS that DOES cost a helluver lot of money to do.

It's how stately homes are funded for upkeep, you get visitors and they pay an entrance fee. Same principle, different scale.

There's nothing dubious about these places having tourism. People tend to be interested to see what goes on over the fence. Plus, you're not saying that space should only be for the academics are you? ;) .. Such an argument is/was used against opening up the internet AFAIR.

--
Delphis

I have a cheaper way to go weightless! (1)

renoX (11677) | more than 13 years ago | (#213869)

Just do a skydive!

In the first seconds you are really weigthless as said by Mr Einstein :-)

Much cheaper than a space trip or a doing "parabolic flight".

A bit short though..

Re:Sigh... (1)

james_shoemaker (12459) | more than 13 years ago | (#213870)

Why does the ISS computer system have 3,000,000 lines of code? What possible excuse is there for that except for bloat. What are the responsibilities of these lines that are so critical? Shouldn't these functions be decentralized into programmable contollers instead? That way is one fails the rest continue on happily. Why put all your eggs into one fragile basket?

As for the deathtrap analogy the Soyuz spacecraft is safer than anything we have built in a fatality/launch basis. Solid rocket boosters are not my idea of a safe launch vehicle for human passengers, the only way to abort is detonation.

Re:Why doesn't the US do this? (5)

funkman (13736) | more than 13 years ago | (#213871)

Because it would be the US taxpayers funding a millionaires vacation. The space station / shuttle / and all other costs related costs way more than 20 million than one tourist has paid. Lets say the cost for one year of the shuttle and space station is: 1 billion dollars. That would mean 50 tourists would need to go up in that year to break even if every tourist cost 20 million. Getting 50 people up there is no minor feat in one year as well as the extra costs for all the extra flights.

And the added bonus is only the richest 0.01% of the US would be able to even afford such a vaction.

A Week in a Soyuz Capsule (1)

Catmeat (20653) | more than 13 years ago | (#213872)

Would be roughly the same as spending a week in a hemetrically sealed, small office cubicle with two other people. Imagine what that would be like after a few days and spaceflight rapidly loses it's glamour.

Re:Why doesn't the US do this? (1)

vanyel (28049) | more than 13 years ago | (#213873)

Amen! It is really embarrassing to see NASA fighting tooth and nail to limit commercialization of space while the Russians embrace it.

What can I get for five bucks? (1)

Vector Inspector (35504) | more than 13 years ago | (#213874)

What could I get for five bucks?

Could I ride in the space truck? Yeah... the russian space truck!

Charity Fund (2)

redsmoke (37560) | more than 13 years ago | (#213875)

Hi all I am establishing a charity fund to help make a wish come sure and get a RANDOMLY selected individual on one of these flights. Please goto : http://www.getredsmokerichandinspace.com to learn more about how you can help toward this charity! Save the starving college students!

Re:crash (1)

Sogol (43574) | more than 13 years ago | (#213876)

I'm sure they have to sign waivers first

trips to space (1)

Sogol (43574) | more than 13 years ago | (#213877)

We are all already "in space" - Moreover, "Trips away from the Earth" would have a much better appeal.

Re:Why doesn't the US do this? (3)

Cylix (55374) | more than 13 years ago | (#213878)

Ouch...

Nice to see all that money I pay in taxes is being blown on what amounts to corporate welfare. Eventually we should see some glimmer of these technologies leak into the public sector, but until then, it is in my opinion a wasted effort.

Re:Personally... (2)

radja (58949) | more than 13 years ago | (#213879)

if you can pay for the trip yopu don't need it

//rdj

Geeks Really In Space (2)

dsplat (73054) | more than 13 years ago | (#213880)

Maybe they'd be willing to negotiate trip in exchange for a couple of live reports about it on Geeks In Space. Yeah, they'd probably still want a few buck, but it might bring the price down to the budget of geeks. And of course, without a doubt, Slashdot would get slashdotted.

A week an a Soyuz capsule ... (1)

JoeGee (85189) | more than 13 years ago | (#213881)

A week locked in an outhouse in the middle of the Kazakhstan desert. Decisions, decisions.

A Soyuz capsule is basically a three person transportation vehicle with about as much space as your average econobox car, correct? So no flips, no rolls, just a feeling of weightlessness, pooping in diapers, eating Russian MRE's, and not being able to stretch for seven days.

I suspect if they want repeat business the Russians had better shorten the length of the tourist-cosmonauts' journey. The ISS is by no means a five star hotel, but at least you could straighten your legs without kicking your crewmates and you didn't have to take a dump in industrial-strength Depends.

100 mile high club (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 13 years ago | (#213882)

If people will pay to do it with their significant other in airplanes and hot-air balloons, there gotta be a market for doing it in space.

Good (1)

BobGregg (89162) | more than 13 years ago | (#213883)

As much as I'd like to criticize the crassness of the whole Russian enterprise, at least it's *something* positive for space tourism, which is more than NASA has ever generated. God knows we'd be waiting around till our nose hair reached down to our armpits before they'd okay such a thing. Maybe because the Russians are doing this, they'll skirt some of the legal issues associated with the American legal system, i.e. five billion pounds of paperwork. After all, if these folks have the money and want to do it, and are prepared to accept the risks, and don't get in the way of the real astronauts and their work - and if the Russians are willing to pony up for whatever resources the "guests" use - then why the heck not?

corporate welfare better than unemployment (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 13 years ago | (#213884)

There were quite a few studies into this sort of thing in the UK in the 80s and 90s. You'll remember we had a right wing government under Maggie Thatcher that was very keen on closing down inefficient industries, laying off huge amounts of people, putting an axe to a large amount of the UK's industrial base. Interesting thing was several studies have since shown that it would have been actually better for the country to keep those people employed inefficiently than laying off all the workers and going for ultra efficient companies (that turned out not to be much better anyway). The amount of wealth distributed by those people, passed on to secondary employment (e.g. shopkeepers, people making luxury goods for employed people, products sold to those people) far outweighed the advantages of creating massive unemployment and having more profitable companies (that mostly got sold off to overseas investors anyway).

Yup, there's proof this stuff works. Not to say it wouldn't be a great idea to work out how to keep all those folks employed and do things more efficiently, but there you go. Definitely a better starting point.

The other major ON-topic point here is that space tourism in Russia will be fulfilling exactly this role, keeping people in an ailing economy in work, keeping equipment working, providing jobs for the bright young graduates and helping develop an underfunded sector. So go for it. There's a lot of very valuable experience we can't afford to lose and if a bit of free market capitalism is required to keep it going, then so be it. Kinda funny the Russians are playing the USA at their own game, though I think the Russians have always been pragmatic.

Here's the article about it... (1)

jeffsenter (95083) | more than 13 years ago | (#213885)

The NYTimes article [nytimes.com] .

Personally... (2)

11thangel (103409) | more than 13 years ago | (#213886)

Sending tourists seems like it's just asking for trouble. And i thought skydiving made it hard to get life insurance...

I belive David Bowie put it best: "Ground control to Major Tom..."

Re:About your offer. (1)

hardcode (105714) | more than 13 years ago | (#213887)

*splutter* now this deserves modding up, thanks, a Friday laugh much needed

hc

Re:This is a big scam! (2)

(void*) (113680) | more than 13 years ago | (#213888)

Just like what they did to Dennis.

Easy (2)

alexburke (119254) | more than 13 years ago | (#213889)

from the whats-the-airport-code-for-space dept.

$$$

--

Better use of money (3)

1nt3lx (124618) | more than 13 years ago | (#213890)

Perhaps the millionaires should get together and finance a space hotel of sorts. It would allow them to capitalize on the public's interest in space travel.

Of course, the Russian government may not be able to pay for next year's VODKA rations if they can't gouge wealthy american's who want into space.

Darn!.. (1)

CptnHarlock (136449) | more than 13 years ago | (#213891)


A concerned American who must post AC for my own safety.

Well you just missed the Post Anonymously checkbox and landed on the Submit button... Don't you just hate it when it happens.. :)
--
$HOME is where the .*shrc is

Re:lottery = space travel for the masses (2)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 13 years ago | (#213892)

I can see it now:

Hello folks I'm Rodger Johnson of CBS news, and I'm here with the winner of this month's "Space Lottery" 59 year old Paul Thompson. Paul is a retired mailman, and knows absolutly nothing about about g-forces, the effects of low gravity on the body, and he has no skills that may be useful on a space flight. Paul retired early after his second heart attack, but likes rollercosters, so he doesn't think the acceleration will bother him much. He is a bit concerned that the diet on the shuttle and ISS can be tailored to his diabetic needs. So here he is folks: America's next Astronaut!

Seriously, at least with the way the Russians are doing it now they can screen people ahead of time. In a lottery sitiuation you'd have to screen people before they bought their tickets. Who's going to submit to a full medical screen and background check before they buy a lottery ticket? The other option is just to keep drawing till you get someone medically qualifed, but what do you tell the people who's numbers were drawn, but couldn't go? Sorry, here's your dollar back? They'd be buried under an avalanche of lawsuits. I'm all for "space for the masses" but the fact is that under current conditions many people CAN'T go to space. to promise an "open lottery" would just be to invite disappointment and problems.

Re:What is "corporate welfare"? (2)

clary (141424) | more than 13 years ago | (#213894)

Ad Astra Per Aspera "A Rough Road Leads to the Stars"
Are you from Kansas, by any chance?

Delayed flight?? (1)

Core-Dump (148342) | more than 13 years ago | (#213896)

Here in the Netherlands (and probably in the rest of the world) there is a big problem with the trains arriving/leaving on time and now the goverment decided if that the train leaves 30 mins late you can get 50% of you're trainticked back, it would be nice for this to happen for spaceflights.....

2 days delay, 400% refund? hmmm.. beam me up scotty

Re:How many people can aftually afford to do this? (1)

Fat Lenny (150637) | more than 13 years ago | (#213897)

Richard Haworth of (ironically enough) Holland, Michigan rounds out the bottom of the Forbes 400 -- the "poorest" of the 400 most wealthy USians alone is worth $725 million. I'm not even worth $100K, but if I was, I'd be willing to spend 3% of my worth on a vacation I'd never forget.

http://www.forbes.com/400richest/ [forbes.com]

--

Re:Why doesn't the US do this? (2)

connorbd (151811) | more than 13 years ago | (#213898)

Precisely; it's a liability problem. Now that Dennis Tito has gone and come back, space tourism is inevitable (though it will be a long time until it's cheap). The Russians want to sell rides, let them. They need the money, and thrill seekers will get their thrills if they want them.

One can only hope the Russians do something useful with it, though...

/Brian

Re:As Chris Rock put it... (1)

AshPattern (152048) | more than 13 years ago | (#213899)

You'll be allowed to jump off the ground as high as you can.

Re:what this has to do with old people... (1)

AshPattern (152048) | more than 13 years ago | (#213900)

And then we can have a Golden Age until we all die from a disease contracted by a dirty telephone.

No thanks.

Re:Sigh... (1)

Decimal (154606) | more than 13 years ago | (#213901)

I agree completely. The space shuttle is a wonderful investment. Will somebody mod that post up, please?

Is this really a good idea? (3)

rneches (160120) | more than 13 years ago | (#213904)

I'm all for space turism - I've wanted to play around in microgravity since I was five, and would probably drop most of my net worth for a chance to get into space.

However, the ISS is a research station. They're supposed to be doing science and enginering stuff up there that will [someday, I hope] benifit all of us stuck down here in the gravity well. It somehow doesen't sit right with me that the Russians, however cash strapped they are, let a guy pay his way onto the ISS, and are planning to expand this (even if there won't be any more actual ISS visits). It would be like if CERN or Fermilab turned over their accelerators to someone who's willing to pay tons of cash to blow the hell out of a banana.

The ISS has been sucking huge amounts of money out of space programs that could do better science. For the price of the ISS, you could do hundreds of unmanned missions to Mars, and they would yeild mountains of real scientific data that would truely enhance our knowledge about, well, everything. If the ISS can't produce the same bang for the buck, it shouldn't be funded.

Space turism for the ultra-rich on or off the ISS strongly suggests that the scientific value of these manned missions is dubious.

Again, don't get me wrong here - I want to have humans in space, and if I could, I would jump at the chance to be one of them. But research money is a limited resource, and untill we have the technologies to do it economically, we should be spending out cash on either pure science or developing those technologies.

--

crash (1)

kruczkowski (160872) | more than 13 years ago | (#213905)

Can you imagin how the Russian goverment will be sued if one of the ships kills someone rich?

Re:Why doesn't the US do this? (2)

eltardo (160932) | more than 13 years ago | (#213906)

I agree with you on this. It's a shame NASA isn't doing something along these lines. I'm glad that someone is finally doing commercial spaceflight. It's been a long time coming and personally, I think it's over due.

Re:Why doesn't the US do this? (1)

sjwt (161428) | more than 13 years ago | (#213907)

I think the problem is in insurance,
not life or such, but more insurance for
NASA..

perhaps they need a company that says
we will insure the average joe..

How long until Bin Laden (2)

The Mutant (167716) | more than 13 years ago | (#213908)

sends one of his boys up there to "teach the great Satan a lesson"?

Letting non scientists spend time on Alpha just because they can pay is a really, really bad idea.

Some nut with cash and a cause is gonna be remembered for a long, long time.

Re:Why doesn't the US do this? (2)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 13 years ago | (#213909)

What happened when the US sent a civilian in space?

One word: Challenger

It may not seem like a problem now-a-days, but those that were responsible still are extracautious...

you can't sue a government except on its terms (2)

arete (170676) | more than 13 years ago | (#213910)

You can't sue the Russians except in Russian court - and they doubtless will think that was in bad faith of the waivers they have to sign...

Good for them, good for me (2)

duvel (173522) | more than 13 years ago | (#213911)

I really don't see the point in discussing the ethics of having someone pay to go into space.

After all, it's strictly a question of filling an existing demand, namely doing something that very few people are able to do. The fact that customers that want to fullfill this demand, are being asked exorbitant amounts of money isn't even relevant. Half of the attraction of going into space is the fact that it shows that you have a gazillion to spend on the little luxuries of life.

I'd say, let's hope there will be a lot of companies to offer this service. And let's hope they even make a profit. They'll pay taxes (which is actually money taken of their rich clients) and, consequently, I'll pay less taxes.

You gotta love'em.

drunk (2)

wishus (174405) | more than 13 years ago | (#213912)

you can stay at my place and I'll get you drunk.

Has anyone ever been drunk in space? That sounds like fun.. assuming you can hold your liquor.

wishus
---

Why NASA is afraid of this (2)

InsaneGeek (175763) | more than 13 years ago | (#213913)

My belief why NASA tends to very opposed to this type of thing is that they are scared sh*tless that they are going to lose funding because of it. All it's going to take is someone to get the bright idea that instead of space researched paid by taxes, that it could completely survive on the private sector. Think if Congress started siphoning off the budget money, and say "if you want some more money throw up some tourists, to fund your next deep space satelite". Funding from the next solar panel, will come from the 5 tourists that have to be shot up, because Congress decided they didn't want to give us any more money.

I don't think NASA is all that concerned about someone going through the proper training, etc. and being a safety hazard, but more about what this could truely mean, to all those nickles and dimes they've had to beg and plead for. Could cause lots of problems on actually getting true research done.

Great Practical Joke if Bill Gates goes on a trip. (1)

HomerJS (192001) | more than 13 years ago | (#213914)

Cosmonaut: "I hope you are enjoying the trip, Mr. Gates. Did you know that all of the computers in our vessel are running on Microsoft products?" Gates: "DEAR GOD, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!"

Re:Why doesn't the US do this? (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 13 years ago | (#213915)

"You also have to remember that if NASA does decide to start sending tourists into space, then one accident could mean the end of our space program."

What was Christa McCauliffe, if not NASA's first "space tourist?" And she WAS killed, along with the others, by NASA's insistence upon getting that bird up despite the known problems with o-rings. To your credit, though, this was the "end" of our space program for a number of years.

Re:Uh oh. (2)

guinsu (198732) | more than 13 years ago | (#213916)

Maybe an accident would set tourism back for a decade, but without people trying things like this, space tourism wouldn't happen for at least a decade anyway.

Re:Why doesn't the US do this? (2)

tssm0n0 (200200) | more than 13 years ago | (#213917)

I agree with both of you. I feel that NASA might be better off putting a little time into developing a program to safely and comfortably (withing reason) send tourists into space. NASA would also benefit from teaming up with other companies in some ventures. I know everyone here thinks corporations are bad, but they're the ones with the money and I'd like to see some of that going into helping the space program.

You also have to remember that if NASA does decide to start sending tourists into space, then one accident could mean the end of our space program. Not that accidents in NASA are a common occurance, but one mistake and the public would go crazy to the point of forcing the government to put an end to NASA. (I can see the slashdot posts now "WHAT IDIOT HAD TO IDEA TO SEND TOURISTS INTO SPACE?!?! Click here for goatsex")...

Anyway, some stuff to think about...

Sigh... (2)

BDew (202321) | more than 13 years ago | (#213918)

Another beautifully uninformed slashdot rant.

Without the Shuttle, how would Americans get into space? With 40 year old technology, the way the Russians do? Remember that we will never know how much Mir or the Soyuz programs cost, because it was swallowed in the communist regime. Who knows, compared to Mir, ISS might be a bargain!

Furthermore, the US cares a whole lot about little things like, i dunno, SAFETY that the Russians don't give a damn about. You think I am overstating things, read "Dragonfly" by Bryan Burrough. NASA comes off as the bureaucratic mess that it probably is, but you'll think twice before claiming the Russians have a "sensible space policy."

But, it's easy to pick on NASA. After all, it is a government agency. But before you rant about NASA inefficiency, think about your own code. What happens if there's a bug? Well, you fix it. And send out a patch. ISS has THREE MILLION lines of code, and any bug could be a complete disaster. So ALL of that code has to be checked and rechecked.

In sum, working in space is HARD. Many times harder than any environment on the ground, even
a corporate cubicle. If you ever get the chance to go into space, you will be relying on all the "whooping it up" that NASA is doing. Or you will be flying in a 40 year old Russian deathtrap. The choice is yours, but I hope you choose the deathtrap.

Uh oh. (3)

vslashg (209560) | more than 13 years ago | (#213919)

This is where a big accident is going to happen which will pretty much kill space tourism for a decade. Tito paid a lot of money, but he was also prepared for the trip -- he went through rigorous training and so forth. His trip doesn't necessarily mean it's time to start offering "cut rate" space flights to any guy with money.

Prediction: They're going to shoot someone into space who's not prepared to be there, some sort of emergency happens and the tourist, who is unprepared for anything to go wrong, dies. And just because someone ran an unsafe space toruism operation, people will get the impression that safe space tourism isn't possible, and that will set the whole thing back years.

Bleah. A reasonable level of safety for a space tourist is more than just taking someone's cash and cramming them in a Soyuz capsule.

Marketing 101: space station is for tourists (1)

mindserfer (209937) | more than 13 years ago | (#213920)

The most important use for the space station is for tourists. Why? Marketing my boy, marketing. If the common man can relate to the activities made possible by HIS money then he will be more willing for you to use HIS money for that and other scientific applications. Think WIN - WIN people. Life, politics and econonmics are not zero sum. We all are more human when any of us gets out of our box/gravity well. - peace yall.

I'd rather go to Barbados (1)

T1girl (213375) | more than 13 years ago | (#213921)

If I had that kind of money, I would quit my job and go to Barbados, [barbados2000.com] swim in the blue waters and drink Mt. Gay Rum or off to the mountains of Colorado [colorado.com] or somewhere else where I could get some fresh air and not be cramped up in a cubicle/space capsule all day.

NASA's Role (3)

mojo-raisin (223411) | more than 13 years ago | (#213923)

I think we might be advocating a road frought with peril in pushing for tourism through NASA.

NASA was organized to provide for scientific exploration of space. It is a form of socialism to construct such an organization, but our society has determined that it is a trade-off worth making, as there has been little profitablity to be gained from early space exploration.

That seems to be changing.

It seems there are now possibilites for a profitable space program - and that should preclude government involvement. We have already seen first hand results of large socialist programs, and it is never good.

Ideally, we should see NASA's role slowly diminish in the coming decades, until it vanishes completely. I see nothing wrong with continuing ISS, but it should be in a completely scientific context.

The public would not be happy to provide vacations for a wealthy few in a tax-subsidized program.

There is a reason the Russian government doesn't mind charging space tourists - they are a socialist state. Let's not begin to follow their footsteps to socialism.

Re:Reminds me of the Hogan's Heroes episode (1)

goodhell (227411) | more than 13 years ago | (#213924)

I'd have to open a window and stick my head out to verify this.

heh heh heh

Don't you think the bugs hitting your face at that speed would hurt?

Re:Uh oh. (1)

goodhell (227411) | more than 13 years ago | (#213925)

I don't agree.

First of all, the Russians are going to be very careful and ensure that nothing happens. The tourists who do go up will be physically fit, unlike the guy from Contact who dies up there. I think they understand capitalism and marketing fairly well. In fact I would say they understand it very well. They already sold one guy on a trip to space. He paid $10 million, went through some rigorous training, and enjoyed himself immensely. They got one good example to go by right now. The russians got a rich person to pay an enormous fee to go to space for minimal costs. Honestly, it's not going to be that much more expensive for them to cram another person aboard and take care of him for a couple days. Sure only the extremely rich will be able to afford to go to space, but I think that they are paving a path for the not-quite-so-rich-people-coming-out-of-poverty-lev el-for-the-first-time people like me.

Besides, if some one does die up there the russians have _years_ of experience at covering things up.

IP, UP, WeAllP

Re:As Chris Rock put it... (1)

goodhell (227411) | more than 13 years ago | (#213926)

Actually, I'll be allowed to give you the added thrust from my boot to your ass to send you flying as far as you can go. Enjoy!

How many people can aftually afford to do this? (2)

hillct (230132) | more than 13 years ago | (#213927)

A company? A private company is offering this service? How many customers do they expect to have? Surely thare aren't that many people who have a spare $20 mil AND are willing to throw it into a single vacation... How do they epect to keep in business? I'd love to see the financial projections for this company... Amazing...

--CTH

--

Re:Why doesn't the US do this? (1)

Durandel1020 (230673) | more than 13 years ago | (#213928)

Thats a mute point. The United States does this sort of a thing all the time.

Seems very interesting (1)

ishrat (235467) | more than 13 years ago | (#213929)

First because now they have found ways to earn some funds for the space projects, which is a big leap forward.

Next is that once these visits start it won't be long before space travel becomes more affordable to more people (I am still waiting to be able afford to travel abroad though).

Re:Is this really a good idea? (1)

Baddas (243852) | more than 13 years ago | (#213931)

Yo! Smart guy! It's
A. Not going to dock with the ISS B. All Russian, baby.

Therefore, most of what you said is wrong!

RTFarticle...

I'd have to say that this is one of the better things that can happen to space tourism. Someone finally needs the money... Next, it's a billion dollar a year industry! (20mil*50=1bil) Next, we all get to go!

Re:no word on the price? (1)

Baddas (243852) | more than 13 years ago | (#213932)

Well, it is accessible from just about everywhere, as long as you can excape gravity. I'm no rocket&nbspscientist, but AFAIK that's about everywhere.
I'm hoping that they can get this to a level where I can go up (months, winter home, etc ;) when I retire with lots of cash... BYO habitat!

PS: OT: My roommate is going off about exploratory cats.... redundant?

RTF article! It's not a trip to the ISS! (1)

Baddas (243852) | more than 13 years ago | (#213933)

It's a trip to orbit in a Soyuz.
Previous poster said that it was 'bout 10m to get a soyuz up, with 2 passengers, that can easily make them 10m even if the price is half Tito's pay.

That's entirely different than all the karma whores going off about wasting ISS cash.

Lay off the karma, read the article, and think before you post... Christ.

Postcards.... (2)

tonywestonuk (261622) | more than 13 years ago | (#213934)

Hmm, If you could send a postcard back, it might go somthing like: Having a wonderfull time. Weather is err, nonexistant - Sun is Scorching by day, but the nights are a tad chilly - My room has a Sea view - all of them!. Havent been able to venture away from the hotel however, The hotel manager advises it is a bit hostile outside.

I think it's a communist plot (4)

typical geek (261980) | more than 13 years ago | (#213935)

To get the elite of America (who else could afford it), into their clutches for several weeks of insidious commie brainwashing.

To gain an insight into such a communist mindset, I would recommend looking for an obscure, often suppressed documentary (with Frank Sinatra re-enacting the lead role) called The Manchurian Candidate. It clearly shows the odious depths the malevolent commies will stoop to in order to destroy this great nation of ours.

If the CIA can't stop this, I would hope the INS would isolate returning Americans for several weeks to deprogram them from this insidious communist plot.

Thanks,

A concerned American who must post AC for my own safety.

Re:Why doesn't the US do this? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 13 years ago | (#213936)

For once, it's the Russians promoting capitalism rather than the US. After all, they've got trouble with a lack of funds, and rather than bleating to their Government about it, they've done the sensible thing - sold a service for a price people are willing to pay! If only NASA would take its head out of its ass and do something this sensible.

It's important to understand that 'the Russians promoting capitalism does *not* mean the Russian Government, nor the Russian Space Agency, but rather MirCorp, a private corporation. NASA is a government agency, and forbidden by law to provide commercial services. (And why for gosh sakes do you want the Government involved in business? Their record on running businesses (Post Office, Amtrak) is rather spotty to say the least.)

Maybe if NASA ever decided that pretentious, high budget, high beurocracy projects like the Shuttle were the complete waste of money and resources that they were, we'd see more people in space.

The basic problem is in convincing Congress.

As it is, the money they waste on that inefficient POS would be far better spent elsewhere,

Yep, that's what Congress thinks as well. (And it' Congress that decides what money NASA gets, and how it is spent.) Instead Congress spends the money on welfare.

But since NASA haven't managed to come up with anything better in 20 years, they won't get rid of it in case they fall behind other agencies.

NASA has several times tried for something better, but Congress won't pay for it.

Well here's news for you - this shows the Russians are already light years ahead in terms of a sensible space policy! NASA should stop whooping it up and get down to some serious work.

Here's news for you.... you need to learn how the facts I've cited above before ranting. Got a problem with NASA? Take it to your Congressman. Want a better opportunity in space? Put your money where your mouth is and invest in one of the space startups. Rants help no one, especially ones so devoid of an understanding of the facts.

Re:Why doesn't the US do this? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 13 years ago | (#213937)

Nice to see all that money I pay in taxes is being blown on what amounts to corporate welfare. Eventually we should see some glimmer of these technologies leak into the public sector, but until then, it is in my opinion a wasted effort.

Hardly. NASA's budget is far less than 1% of the Federal budget.

As far as corporations go, who else is going to do the work? This isn't whipping out a Slashdot clone in somebodies back room. This kind of work requires real money, real skills, and real facilities.

Re:Why doesn't the US do this? (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 13 years ago | (#213938)

<sarcasm>

Yeah! More millonares in space! I can see it now! Michael Jackson desperately chasing his nose around the ISS trying to catch it before it gets sucked into an airvent and ejected into space. What a dignified moment in the history of Space exploration. And come to think of it, hair burns alot faster in an oxygen rich enviroment don't it?

</sarcasm>

can i pay... (5)

JohnnyKnoxville (311956) | more than 13 years ago | (#213941)

for them to take someone else into space and leave them there?

Why doesn't the US do this? (4)

sharkticon (312992) | more than 13 years ago | (#213942)

For once, it's the Russians promoting capitalism rather than the US. After all, they've got trouble with a lack of funds, and rather than bleating to their Government about it, they've done the sensible thing - sold a service for a price people are willing to pay! If only NASA would take its head out of its ass and do something this sensible.

Maybe if NASA ever decided that pretentious, high budget, high beurocracy projects like the Shuttle were the complete waste of money and resources that they were, we'd see more people in space. As it is, the money they waste on that inefficient POS would be far better spent elsewhere, repairing the damage to the image NASA has with the American public after doing absolutely nothing for decades.

As it is, maybe Congress should cut their budget some more until they do tighten their belts. The Shuttle is a black hole in terms of funding, and in any corporation it would have been axed years ago. But since NASA haven't managed to come up with anything better in 20 years, they won't get rid of it in case they fall behind other agencies. Well here's news for you - this shows the Russians are already light years ahead in terms of a sensible space policy! NASA should stop whooping it up and get down to some serious work.

As Chris Rock put it... (2)

Liquid-Gecka (319494) | more than 13 years ago | (#213943)

... "What can I get for a quarter?"

Re:How many people can aftually afford to do this? (1)

cosmo7 (325616) | more than 13 years ago | (#213944)

i've got an idea:

we get 2000 people to each put $10000 towards sending a really good-looking chick into space. then we each get to have sex with her, so we can tell people at parties that we've had sex with a chick who's been in space.

it's my idea so i get first go.

no word on the price? (1)

mod you later (326902) | more than 13 years ago | (#213945)

now, i only heard a friend mention this but apparently subsequent trips after the first tourist in space are going to be half the price. if this rate (only using a sample of two) continues, how long before space could be the most popular vacation destination?

'planet starbucks' indeed...

i was angry:1 with:2 my:4 friend - i told:3 4 wrath:5, 4 5 did end.

Re:Why doesn't the US do this? (1)

darrick (413403) | more than 13 years ago | (#213946)

Yeah, dumbass, the fact that she was a civilian caused the explosion. I wish people would quit bringing up Challenger when they have no fucking clue.

NASA can't send up civilians for tourism purposes. There's some sort of limitation in their charter preventing it. Instead, they're required to release the technology to allow commercial interests to pursue that avenue.

I say let Russia do whatever it wants. It's not the US's job to police the whole damn planet!

Re:what this has to do with old people... (1)

thinkit (415787) | more than 13 years ago | (#213947)

what's this have to do with a phone? probably some sf story i guess. but i'm not talking about fiction. this could happen, and life would be so different.

This is a big scam! (3)

President of The US (443103) | more than 13 years ago | (#213948)

These guys are going to get scammed! After all, we all know that they aren't going into space, but are just going to be taken to a sound stage in Siberia.
-----------------------

Re:Better use of money (1)

Mantis69 (446522) | more than 13 years ago | (#213950)

There is already a Japanese consortium who are planning an orbital hotel for up to 200 people! I reckon the yen will have to pick up a bit before they can afford that.

Don't worry about the Russians not being able to afford their vodka, good stuff costs about $5, and if they can't buy it they'll make their own! My mother in law makes a mean vodka, very smooth and 50% alcohol.

na sdarovia!

How about Dr. Strangelove? (1)

XSforMe (446716) | more than 13 years ago | (#213951)

Well, it seems the brainwashed here is somebody else. Maybe you should consider decaf and voting democrat next year. Even better, Drew, quit reading alt.alien.abductions, alt.elvis.sightings, and alt.conspiracy.theory.

Re:I think it's a communist plot (1)

Nick Number (447026) | more than 13 years ago | (#213952)

To gain an insight into such a communist mindset, I would recommend looking for an obscure, often suppressed documentary (with Frank Sinatra re-enacting the lead role) called The Manchurian Candidate.

Documentary eh? Maybe you need to relax by playing a little solitaire...

You could test your theory by flashing him a queen of hearts and see if his eyes get glassy.

If the CIA can't stop this, I would hope the INS would isolate returning Americans for several weeks to deprogram them from this insidious communist plot.

Would they deport him back into space if deprogramming didn't work?

In other news... (1)

PYves (449297) | more than 13 years ago | (#213954)

Russia invests in a huge catapult -PYves

Re:How many people can aftually afford to do this? (1)

PYves (449297) | more than 13 years ago | (#213955)

A lot of people have a lot of money and are quoted as being "interested" in going to space. (Bill Clinton, and some hollywood directors to name just a couple)

The thing is, once everyone willing to pay 20 million to go to space will have done so (a lot of people with a lot of money who can buy everything really like showy-rare stuff). The space program will have quite a bit more funds than before, and then once there is a lower demand for 20 million dollar trips inside a capsule, I'm sure they will have enough money to throw a bunch of marketers at it to find some new market approach.

I can see within a larger time-frame some "coach class" trips to space and there will be much more of a demand to have a possibility to spend a vacation in a space/moon station.

I don't see much of a chance to film movies in space; it's much easier to recreate the environment here and use computer enhancements, but I'm sure a theme park on the moon would attract a lot of visitors (ripped from futurama :P), and while that's kind of far-fetched, paying to go into space is a step in that direction.

-PYves

Space: The Final Yard Sale (1)

pagsz (450343) | more than 13 years ago | (#213956)

I don't know about you, but the Soyuz capsule doesn't sound that inviting. Sure, you'd be in orbit, but I don't think you'd be able to apprecialte the effects of microgravity in what is essentially an oversized oil drum.

I mean, where the hell do you go if someone cuts one? At least on ISS you can leave the ...er...room.

Essentially you'd be paying $20 million for the great view. It's one hell of a view and I know I'd love to be able to see it, but how many will drop $20 million for the privelege? Especially if there's any possibility of better accomodations in a few years (if there's a willingness by the rich to do it, there'll definietly be more space tourism companies soon).

Willing to go if they drop the "million" part from the price tag,

A Good Thing (1)

cyberlync (450786) | more than 13 years ago | (#213957)

This is a very good thing. Years ago when commercial airplane flights first started, seats were generally very expensive and it was considered a rich mans mode of transportation. Eventually though the price came down and now just about everyone can take a plane almost anywhere. I hope this leads to a similar situation with space flights.

Re:Planet Starbucks (1)

zardor (452852) | more than 13 years ago | (#213958)

On the topic of starbucks in space, take a look at this piece of breaking news [brknews.com]

Re:what this has to do with old people... (1)

zardor (452852) | more than 13 years ago | (#213959)

Of course, we would probably all die from a disease caught from a virulent telephone, but that's another story.

So Long...

Re:what this has to do with old people... (1)

zardor (452852) | more than 13 years ago | (#213960)

It is from the HitchHiker's guide to the Galaxey 'trilogy', by the recently late Douglas Adams. The exact plot details escape me, but basically some distant planet (Golgafrinch?) built several great spaceships in order to escape an alleged impending disaster, and loaded the first one up with all their advertising executives and telephone sanitisers. The rest of the population was to follow on, see. Anyway, the first ship crashed on earth, and the elite class that remained behind got wiped out by a disease caught from a dirty telephone. The rule is: always clean that phone with your towel first.

Re:100 mile high club (1)

zardor (452852) | more than 13 years ago | (#213961)

But how many times can you attempt re-entry?

Re:Why doesn't the US do this? (5)

zardor (452852) | more than 13 years ago | (#213962)

NASA introduced its planned five-year, $4.8 billion Space Launch Initiative on 17 May, awarding 22, ten-month contracts, with a total of $767 million, to aerospace companies, including Boeing, Pratt&Whitney and Kistler Aerospace, to research and develop new technologies to support the eventual development of a successor to the Space Shuttle in 15 years. Further contracts will be awarded in late 2001 and in 2002. Technologies include crew survival systems, advanced tanks, engines and thermal protection systems. NASA hopes to have two designs of the new vehicle to choose from within five years. The new reusable spaceplane, however, is unlikely to be a single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) vehicle, but a reusable spaceplane flying piggyback on a reusable launcher.

However, note that the cost of a week long Soyuz mission (including the rocket and capsule) is about $10Milion, so if you can get 2 wannabees to shell out $6 mil each you are making a profit. The cost of a Space Shuttle mission is about $500Million, and I can't see NASA squeezing ~90 people in there to cover the costs. (Perhaps a partnership with Delta could help there....)

Nice offer (1)

gllm34 (453003) | more than 13 years ago | (#213963)

> instead of a week in Soyuz capsule, how about you give me half of the multi-million-dollar-fee, and you can stay at my place and I'll get you drunk. You'll feel like you're in zero Gs, but with a bigger room

I'll drink to that !!!

All i asked for was a freakin spinfuser and a jetpack...

lottery = space travel for the masses (1)

heartsurgeon (453305) | more than 13 years ago | (#213964)

Nasa should hold a national lottery for a ticket to ride the shuttle..solves their funding problems, good PR as well, as everyone regardless of income gets a chance to "ride" if they buy a ticket.
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