David Chandler (who interviewed me a few years ago for a similar article) has a piece in the Boston Globe that provides a good overview of the fledgling commercial space passenger industry, with a suitable cautionary note at the end:
All of this growing interest and activity could still be thwarted, though.
Last week, a bill that had been painstakingly negotiated in Congress for more than a year was suddenly about to be amended at the last minute. Instead of helping to enable the new space tourism business, as intended, a new provision would have required safety standards comparable to a mature industry like the airlines. The bill is still in backroom negotiations and might be salvaged in the lame-duck congressional session.
It would certainly be ironic, said Boston-based aerospace engineer and consultant Charles Lurio, that if, as enthusiasts gather next month to celebrate the human and engineering triumph in Mojave, the industry it might have spawned was being strangled in the halls of Washington.
Henry Vanderbilt at the Space Access Society has more on the ongoing legislative crisis. An important point:
Don’t assume because you didn’t read this until a week or two after we sent it out that it’s no longer urgent. The window for effective action
on this will likely be open well into November. Stay tuned for further word; we’ll report as soon as we know anything. Meanwhile – fax and call!