Saturday, February 18, 2006

Yipee, I'm going to the Moon Alice

Space Adventures, the Arlington, Virginia company that wants to arrange your future space travel, signed a deal with the United Arab Emirates to build a spaceport, ALA Kennedy Space Center in Florida, in the Middle East.

Their Web site promises "space-related adventure travel and tourism: from space camps and astronaut training to actual flights into space," and good to their word, the company has already sent three tourists into space.

The Jersey Journal reports investors plan to pony-up around "$265 million to build the facility about an hour's drive from Dubai in Ras Al-Khaimah, [using] a combination aircraft and rocket system" that carries up to five people to space for a kooool $20 million a person, minimum.

This is what the company charged Dennis Tito, Mark Shuttleworth and Greg Olsen who've gone on company voyages to the new frontier in 2001, 2002 and 2005, respectively.

The rockets will be built through a joint venture with "Russian Space Agency Roskosmos and the Venture Capital firm Prodea," a privately-held firm in Dallas County. Republican Rep. Peter Sessions represents the district.

Now why is any of his newsworthy? Howling Latina likes to save the best for last.

The New Mexican, via the Associated Press, reports Little Brother (i.e. Jeb) wants the Florida legislature "to spend $55 million, including a $3 million sales tax break, to attract new federal and private space ventures to Florida," meaning to subsidize the highly speculative air travel business.

In thinking about the news, I can now clearly see where Big Brother was headed in his SOTU address in 2004. Remember all that crazy talk about trips to Mars and a moon settlement, and how we all howled and laughed and thought Bush had lost his mind? Well, these things don't emerge out of nowhere, someone must've put a bug in the president's ear about a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in space.

As someone who can barely cope with a plane ride without a triple Martini, I think I'll pass. But for anyone who wants to realize the promise of Bubble Gum Bazooka and fly in space while still here on earth, sort've speak, if you've got the $$$, Space Adventures has got a rocket seat for you; and in the meantime, taxpayers shut up, as the government squanders more of your money.

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