Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Lifestyles of the rich and flighty
The Economist reminds us of the hard work the Super Rich have to put into letting even a little of their wealth trickle down—
The space race is set to enter a new phase with the unveiling of the design for Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo on Wednesday January 23rd. Test flights will begin later this year. Passengers will make short sub-orbital trips in the new machine, which might also eventually be used to carry payloads into space. Hundreds of people have put down some $30m in deposits for trips that are at first expected to cost $200,000 each for about five minutes defying Earth’s gravitational pull.
Virgin Galactic is a part of the "Virgin Group" of enterprises founded by British tycoon Sir Richard Branson. I assume that, like Virgin Atlantic, this will be the no-frills, low-cost version of space travel. For $200,000 I doubt they'll get a ham sandwich, which is just as well since they'd only throw it up anyway.
Yet when I think about it, the idea of sending people with more money than God into space and having them pay for it has a certain appeal. (I hope I don't get labeled as a "populist." That would absolutely end my chances of ever being President.)