Thursday, August 18, 2005

A New Space Race

And they're off! It appears that with the burgeoning interest in commercial spacefilght, the Japanese, ever-watchful for the Next Big Fad, have decided to jump on the bandwagon. Yahoo News reported today that no less a player than JTB will be offering package deals into space. This will apparently be via Russia's Soyuz spacecraft- the same one that took American millionaire Dennis Tito and South African Mark Shuttleworth to the International Space Station. Those trips were brokered by Space Adventures, Ltd.. The same company is scheduled to send a third private traveler, Greg Olsen, into space this coming October.

JTB apparently plans to charge a mere 2.2 billion yen for the trip. They are also planning to offer other packages, including a trip around the moon (11 billion yen) and a zero gravity tour up to an altitude of 100 kilometers. The last offering is by far the cheapest, coming in at a mere 11 million yen. Personally, the whole endeavor sounds like a real blast. Now if I only had the cash...

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