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Site designed by
"I've decided to launch an effort through my Share Space Foundation....Share Space Stakes! A sweepstakes or raffle. Proceeds benefit space related and scientific and educational goals. Donations open possibility of winning prizes. Starting with parabolic flights. Expanding to suborbital flights.
"Soyuz costs...millions of dollars.... The cost could be paid for by hundreds of thousands of people donating $50.
"We have not yet developed the rules, but it will be posted on our Share Space web site. Share Space Stakes is scheduled to be launched this year.
"Winners will have to be 18, satisfy certain health restrictions. This will be non-transferable.
"Space travel is poised to go from the few to the many. I hope to play a role with Share Space Foundation.... Who knows who will be one of the lucky winners about to take their own space adventure."
Thanks Buzz! Welcome to the party.Posted by Sam Dinkin at April 17, 2007 09:24 AM
He should be ok as long as the District Attorney of Houston does not get him!
Just ask Jim Davidson for you old timers.Posted by Dennis Ray Wingo at April 17, 2007 09:38 AM
I actually proposed an idea almost identical to this in business class 5 or 6 years ago only to find it is basically illegal. I am interested to see how this will be structured to co-exist with lottery laws.Posted by Greg Valentine at April 17, 2007 10:34 AM
Yes, one has to avoid the gambling laws. I will try to work with them to navigate the troubled waters.Posted by Sam Dinkin at April 17, 2007 11:43 AM
I understand the non-transferable, but I'd be really pissed to win, fail health restrictions, yet not be able to pass on to a family member or close friend. I shouldn't be able to auction off a prize to the highest bidder, but I'd hope some leeway in transfer.Posted by Leland at April 17, 2007 11:59 AM
I would love to win a flight on a Soyuz but hate to have to pay the income taxes on a $20 million prize.Posted by Larry J at April 17, 2007 12:44 PM
I expect Buzz Aldrin would be cut a bit more slack in Houston than Jim Davidson ever was... But yes, Houston was a *bad* place for someone who wasn't Buzz Aldrin to sail that close to the wind RE the lottery laws.Posted by Henry Vanderbilt at April 17, 2007 04:56 PM
I'll be sure to help them figure out how to pay the winner's US taxes. Probably a cash co-prize or a commitment to pay taxes up to a cash co-prize.
Buzz did say he wanted to have non-flyers be able to designate who they are playing for in advance. Alternative prizes if failing medical is a sticky wicket. If it's a cash alternative prize, a winner might fail medical on purpose. Have a list of people who get to go instead makes programming more challenging and legal more challenging. Many decisions to be made.Posted by Sam Dinkin at April 17, 2007 06:01 PM
Actually this is something Buzz Aldrin proposed to NASA back in 2000 as his Congressional Testimony in 2001 shows.
[[[The ShareSpace Foundation proposal for Shuttle seats would see the chance to fly to orbit made available in many different ways. Some seats would be sold to the highest bidders, to determine just how much early pioneers are willing to pay for space travel. This is important market research data. Some seats would be offered via sweepstakes or lotteries, so that every American could have a small chance of flying to space.]]]
Hearing on Space Tourism: Testimony by Buzz Aldrin
Space tourism was a major factor in his setting up Sharespace and he was proposing a sweepstakes system long before the current crop of space tourist firms started looking at this type of strategy. The problem was that there was no domestic launch potential besides the Shuttle at that time.
So if anything its only now that the Alt.Space/New.Space industry is catching up with his ideas from a decade ago.
Its sad how little the current generation of entreprenursare of earlier generations and their porposed business models. Pity as their are many valuable lessons to learn from the early pioneers in space commerce.Posted by Thomas Matula at April 17, 2007 08:38 PM
People have been proposing sweepstakes for decades. Now some of the prizes are here. This time, Buzz has the momentum to actually follow through.Posted by Sam Dinkin at April 18, 2007 06:26 AM
Yes, IF the suborbital companies actually deliver on their promises and produce vehicles safe enough to be licensed for space tourism. A big "IF".
If not then the alt.space/new space industry collapses again just as the RLV firms did in the 1990's and for the the same reason, trying to reach too far, too fast. Sad they are passing the more reliable route of serving non-tourist markets first because of frustration with the progress of human spaceflight, not logic, driving the developers.
The next few years will tell if they are able to make the great leap forward. I really hope so as a lot of taxpayer money is being gambled on building the spaceports for them to fly from.Posted by Thomas Matula at April 18, 2007 10:22 AM
When Buzz first started to propose this, back in the nineties, it was for a ride on the Shuttle, which was always a political non starter.Posted by Rand Simberg at April 18, 2007 11:52 AM
True, but it was the only system available at the time, other then a bunch of viewgraphs from the usual round of Alt.Space/New Space firms.
Don't forget the use of the Soyuz for tourism was still in the future and after 80 plus successful Shuttle flights since Challenger some folks at NASA were queitly beginning to consider non-astronauts again, especially after Glenn's flight. That is one reason space tourism was discussed in the report of the President's Commission on the Future of the Aerospace Industry.
It was Columbia that changed that perception and ended any hopes of using the Shuttle for tourists.
So we are now left with the hope that the Alt.Space/New.Space firm's will deliver on their promises. Again, I wish them well, but recognize the gap between where Burt Rutan, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are now and where they need to be to offer space tourists services is a long one. Failing to recognize that only increases the odds of failure by creating unreasonable expectations of success.Posted by Thomas Matula at April 18, 2007 03:45 PM
Sweepstakes always have cash alternative prizes if they cannot obtain the merchandise prize.
It will be a lot easier to give away flights on new vehicles once folks are flying on more than just Soyuz.Posted by Sam Dinkin at April 20, 2007 08:19 AM
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