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Going in to space was nothing more than a dream for many of us for such a long time. But things are changing profoundly and fast. Once human spaceflight was only possible as part of a national government project. Then a decade ago Denis Tito (on 28th April 2001) became the first self funding astronaut by signing a cheque for $20 million.
Now in 2011, Spaceflight has never been easier or cheaper. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has now brought the price down to $200,000 for a brief suborbital flight. Imagine spaceflight for the price less than that of a small house in London. In the year that marks the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight, it is about time isn’t it?
A familiar name in the astronomical community, Nigel Henbest a writer, broadcaster and television producer took a not too deep breath and signed on the dotted line and is now on the road to his space experience in the next year or two.
As the private sector develops perhaps the commercial spaceflight market will experience the same rapid innovation and price reduction we saw in the personal computer market. Is it too speculative to imagine that within a few years the price of a sub orbital flight will come down perhaps to that of a family car?
In this episode Nigel, talks about why he wants to go in to space and the steps involved in the process of getting there. Nigel has written about his flight here and to see a high resolution image of the huge Virgin Galactic brochure click the image.
This episode’s quote
You see things and say why? But I dream things that never were and say why not?
George Bernard Shaw
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Derek Heatly says
Good luck,nigel-heard you speak at our IAA meetings,Belfast-we both went to same school,but I’m paassenger no.157,a little ahead of you!