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Will We Soon Be Able to Tour Space?

8 Dec 2010

The “first commercial spacecraft” has returned to Earth from low-orbit!

Developed by SpaceX, the Dragon concluded a brief flight earlier today — the first of its kind for the developing commercial space industry. With NASA retiring its current fleet of space shuttles in 2011 as a result of cost restrictions, private industries began to develop functional spacecrafts to replace the retired shuttles for missions to the International Space Station (and perhaps elsewhere).

“This successful demonstration flight is an important milestone in meeting the objectives outlined by President Obama and Congress,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden of Wednesday’s flight. He added: “[It] shows how government and industry can leverage expertise and resources to foster a new and vibrant space economy.”

The dwindling federal funds available for space exploration meant that the private sector had to move in, cooperating with NASA in order to advance space technology, as well as open up a possible new sector of the economy. With the amount of money generated — 1.6 billion dollars in contract at the moment — space could potentially be redefined by the global economy in the following decades, much like oceans were during the fifteenth century.

If commercial spaceflights do indeed become safe, cheap, feasible, and profitable, the service and entertainment industry will have a new stage to play with. Space tourism may become the next hottest travel topic, much like how Westerners enjoy traveling to Asia.

Here’s to the untapped potential of space. Hopefully, this also means more jobs.

[via CNN]

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