Virgin Galactic, the British company created by entrepreneur Richard Branson to send tourists into space, and New Mexico announced an agreement Tuesday for the state to build a $225 million spaceport. Virgin Galactic also revealed that up to 38,000 people from 126 countries have paid a deposit for a seat on one of its manned commercial flights, including a core group of 100 "founders" who have paid the initial $200,000 cost of a flight upfront. Virgin Galactic is planning to begin flights in late 2008 or early 2009.
This should put to an end, once and for all the nonsense that space travel is, somehow, a public good. If there is a viable tourist industry that is able to pay for itself scientific endeavors should be able to piggy back onto the travel for a reasonable cost.
In addition to a budding space tourism industry, NASA is looking for 3rd party carriers to provide transportation to the international space station maybe we can look forward to a time when NASA is little more than a memory. If only the recouped cost would be provided to US citizens through tax reduction.
HatTip: InstaPundit and Slashdot