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Published:November 1st, 2007 09:27 EST
Fly To Space For A Three-Minute Weekend

Fly To Space For A Three-Minute Weekend

By Ann Poludenko

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” parents used to ask their children.

“An astronaut!”

Thirty years ago, this was the most popular answer among boys who lived in the USSR. Everything is different today.

Society has already subdued and orbited the planet. A flight to cosmos is not just a reward for the best any more. It is a traveling service that within every year becomes more attainable for everyone. You can see the Earth from space for just $20 million.

Every generation and society dreams about sky in its special way.  Thirty years ago, every boy who lived in the USSR knew this: to make a space flight one must work very hard. This means to have excellent marks at school, to go in for sports and be a good member of your society. Any loss would get the comment, “Now then, how can you even think about becoming an astronaut?”

Our present generation does not think about space as something too far or too unattainable. There are two reasons for this.

First, there is virtual world in which everyone can become the chief of a space ship and make a flight of their own-- any place, any time and for a low price.

The second reason is because children accept that they can make a real tour to space. All one needs for this is to be rich enough. Today everyone (who has enough money) can buy a ticket to the International Space Station. We already have several examples of wealthy people without any special education or competitions who have taken flights to orbit.

Dreams become a part of trade – International Space Station is turned into the most glamorous resort-place. The ticket costs more than any other tour on Earth. The entire tour will cost approximately $20 million.

Pioneers of space-tourism say that entertainment flights over the sky will be much cheaper in 2-3 years. A lift of 100 kilometers-- a three-minute flight and landing-- will cost $100 thousands.

The only orbit tourist operator is Russian air-craft-space agency. A small network company: the main office of the Space Adventure Agency is in USA. They use Russian technique bases and rockets. The agency initiates to build a special Cosmodome in Singapore. It will be equipped for tourist’s races launched from a pad of their own instead of the one they use today which belongs to Russia.  That is business with its demand and supply, consumers and infrastructure.

What is a business without advertisement? There is a bill in US Congress about regulating advertisements in space. Well-known brand names may soon cover the convoy of space ships. Five people have already had a tourist space-flight. Who knows? Maybe some of them were selecting a nice place out of Earth for their advertisements.

The first space tourist was Denis Titio, a New Yorker. He made a flight in 2000 at the age of 60. The price of his trip was $20 million. He earned his first billion as a founder of Wilshere Associates, Inc. that specializes in consulting.

The second tourist was Mark Shattlvort, born in South African Republic. He now lives in London. He flew at the age of 29.

George Olsen was the third tourist who bought a space tour.  Born in the United States, he earned his first million in the scientific and IT-business fields.

Anyshe Ansary is an American but she has Iranian origin.  The company of her parents invested in the program of spaceship creation. This is how she made up her mind to make a space flight. She is not only the first space-tourist woman. She was the one who led a blog of her own from the Space Station.

Charles Simony, the 58-year-old US billionaire and co-founder of Microsoft, started the space trip on April 10, 2007.

Would you like to be the next?