"Because in Cyberspace, no one can hear you scream."
Saturday, August 06, 2005
[Media Source*] (Cross Posted on Blogger News)
(New Scientist Space) Virgin Galactic president Will Whitehorn told New Scientist he hopes to carry 400 passengers in the first year of operation, scaling up to 2000 in the second year and 3000 in the third. To date, only about 450 people in the world have experienced space travel, almost exclusively in government space programmes.
Of the first 400 passengers entitled to fly, half of those seats are already reserved for "the founders" who have paid $200,000 each in order to experience only five minutes of weightlessness at an altitude of 100 kilometers.
Although many of the passengers are affluent financially, it seems that Whitehorn is desiring that space travel be available to those who lack the funds for it. One way Whitehorn is encouraging the average person to reach for the stars is by having them compete in cyberspace for a literal chance to experience the edge of space for themselves.
...computer gamers can compete to win a seat by playing the Virgin Galactic Quest game -- to be launched online later in 2005. Players will pay $10 and compete to fly their virtual spaceships the farthest distance from Earth by using the gravitational pulls of the planets.
This idea seems based upon an old 1984 film entitled The Last Starfighter where extra-terrestrials recruited the best player of a space battle game in order for him to pilot a real star ship in a huge galactic war. While many gamers begin to exercise their "hand-to-eye" coordination skills as pilots in cyberspace, 4000 real pilots have applied for limited positions with Virgin Galactic (out of an available 75 spots).
After the first 100 flights, Whitehorn plans to eventually drop the price around $100,000 making the deal sweeter for his potential passengers who as of this date number around 30,000.
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