Let's Not Embrace our First Canadian Fire Breathing Space Tourist Too Tightly
I just finished reading an article on Canada’s first space tourist at http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2009/06/canada-embraces-its-fire-breat.html and really, really need to ask the obvious question.
Why didn’t Guy Laliberté contribute some of that estimated 20 million USD’s spent to get his slot aboard the Soyuz capsule on some of the other potential competitors to the Russian Federal Space Agency (RKA)? The Russian agency is the only group selling this service at present, but that isn’t to say that the space tourism market will always remain a monopoly.
Our Canadian equivalents to Bob Bigelow, Elon Musk and all those other American newspace people should be lining up outside the doors of the Cirque du Soleil offices to offer Mr. Laliberté a lower cost alternative for the next time he wants to go into space.
Space tourism is a serious moneymaker for the RKA (which seems sort of ironic, now that I think about it). There should be more than one supplier for this service, especially given that the existing supplier is using 50 year old technology and infrastructure.