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Last Updated: Friday, 1 October, 2004, 09:09 GMT 10:09 UK
Space tourism: Your views
Virgin boss Sir Richard
British entrepreneur Richard Branson announced that his Virgin company plans to launch commercial space flights over the next few years.

The Virgin transport, entertainment and communications group has signed an agreement with pioneering aviation designer Burt Rutan to build an aircraft based on Rutan's SpaceShipOne vessel.

Each spacecraft will carry five passengers at a price of about 100,000 which will include a week's pre-flight training.

Sir Richard Branson said he wanted to bring space travel within the reach of the general public. The first flight is scheduled to leave in 2007-8.

Would you fly into space if you could afford it? What is your opinion about space tourism?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

I'm not sure about the whole idea of flying into space, quite scared in fact, but the view would be to die for! Would I go? Possibly!
Lucy, Aylesbury, UK

People often like to criticise Branson, or take the mickey - but the guy's amazingly successful and has a wonderful enthusiasm for virtually anything he thinks of. If I can ever afford it I know for sure I want to be up there, and I'd thank him for the opportunity.
Daniel Gray, Melton Mowbray, UK

After taking over six hours to get from Preston to Euston yesterday I wouldn't hold my breath on the timetable.
T Barton, Southport

What Branson has really done is throw down a gauntlet, just as JFK did when he challenged Nasa to put a man on the moon
Barry, UK

What Branson has really done is throw down a gauntlet, just as JFK did when he challenged Nasa to put a man on the moon. Whether people spend their money on a few minutes in space is up to them, but this will bring huge technological advances, and here's hoping the UK is at the forefront. I won't be going though. I'd rather give $180,000 to charity and spend $20,000 going round the world in luxury inside the atmosphere.
Barry, UK

These comments are the same that came up when the trains and motorcar was invented, too expensive, too dangerous etc and now they are common place. I am glad that some people have the will to make these amazing things happen.
Matt, Cambridge

I think it would be amazing to go into space and explore the solar system. Space tourism definitely has potential!
Helen, Ventnor, Isle of Wight

Yep. I definitely need to marry a rich man who can buy me this for my birthday! Or win the lottery.
Franziska, UK

Even if I had the money I wouldn't go when there are so many incredible places to visit on the ground. Unfortunately it is narrow-minded and pointless tourist ventures like this designed for equally narrow-minded people with more money than sense which are rapidly making space seem like a better option for all of us!
Adam Taylor, London, UK

Adam Taylor- what tourist destination has a "point"? What's the "point" of seeing the pyramids or the great wall of China? Personally I'd kill for the chance to go into space. To truly realise how tiny earth is in relation to the rest of the universe must be mind blowing. To leave this world, even if for only a few minutes must be the least "narrow minded" thing possible.
Peter, Nottingham (U.K)

Perhaps I can get a job as an in-flight steward
Andy, Cambs, UK

Excellent. I can't afford to go but good luck to those who can. Perhaps I can get a job as an in-flight steward, although I suspect food will be the last thing on peoples minds (or stomachs). No he shouldn't have to sort the world out first. Where would Europe be now without America? "No Columbus, you can't go to the West Indies until you resolve inter-religious squabbling and stop the land owners abusing the peasants" - get a life.
Andy, Cambs, UK

I would jump at the chance. Who cares if it's only for a few minutes? I grew up watching Apollo missions and have always wanted this chance. It is also great that we have got an entrepreneur like Richard Branson willing to lead the way and he is British.
Alan McLaughlin, Staines, England

I'll start saving!
Ramon Marett, Plymouth

To those worried about the pollution: What pollution? It uses rubber and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) as fuel - these burn to produce a variety of inert non-toxic compounds. Many other rockets use liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen - their only waste product is water vapour.
Peter, Nottingham, UK

I hate to be the one to state the obvious, but I suspect most people would like Virgin to get the hang of trains first before embarking upon something as complex as space travel.
Ben, London, UK

Another splendid publicity stunt from Mr Branson - and as usual the press (including the BBC) have fallen for it. For minimal risk he's getting masses of free publicity and conveniently distracting attention from his inability to run a railway company. As long as there are so many people gullible enough to swallow this tosh, men like Mr Branson will never be poor!
Stuart W, London, UK

I am hoping they will use this technology to develop a super fast sub-orbital passenger service from Europe to Australia. Leave space for another day.
Jonathan, London

I'd hate to pay Mr. Branson 100,000 just to be stuck at Carlisle!
Bill, Lanarkshire

I think this is a very exciting project. I just hope a Ryanair or EasyJet jump on the band wagon now too.
James Good, London, England

I can see the headlines now 'top 10 richest lost in space'. At least then we could use their money to help those in need. Glad to see the filthy rich have sorted out their 'priorities'.
Weezie, Bimingham, UK

I don't get it when I see people saying we have to sort out all the problems here on Earth before exploring anywhere else. When has that ever been the case? The world does not make progress at a uniform rate, and sometimes discoveries made in the development of new technologies can be used in helping to alleviate the suffering of our less fortunate brothers and sisters. In summary, I say "Go, go, gadget Branson!".
Charles Knight, Duxford, UK

Yes we should concentrate on today's global issues, but we also shouldn't forget the possibilities of tomorrow
Simon Dean, Warrington, UK
The human race is constantly striving to push ourselves and our capabilities to and beyond our current limits. Its advances in science backed with ideas like this that will help to break through our current boundaries. Yes we should concentrate on today's global issues, but we also shouldn't forget the possibilities of tomorrow as this is what ultimately drives us all forward. Space tourism will be the vehicle to push space technology further and faster enabling us to explore the stars so maybe one day the reduction of Earth's natural resources, starvation, over population, and other such challenges may never be issues again.
Simon Dean, Warrington, UK

Of course we'd go - people will blow their life savings for the chance of a night in Orbit. But at 100,000 it's more like stratospheric than galactic.
Jonathan Clark, Manchester, UK

I haven't seen the majority of this planet and will not before my life is over. What good would travel to somewhere else do for me? The money it would take would be put to better use to enjoy mother earth.
Phil S, USA

I doubt this will be available to every person who wants to go and can afford it. Surely you would have to be at quite a high level of fitness to cope with the physical strain of leaving and re-entering the atmosphere.
SR, London

I think it is great, why should space travel be the domain of the few? OK so it will cost a fortune to do it but as with all things, the rich will pay for the technology to become cheap enough for the masses to afford. The rich occasionally do have a use!!
Richard Scott, Iver, UK

This space tourism will certainly soften the blows of losing Concorde.
George Nipah, England

For me, this isn't about whether this will work or not. It's more about the plain and simple fact that yet again the super wealthy have yet more way to spend their money on frivolous pursuits. This is not lambasting on what they should be doing, it's their money. But, who really cares how they waste their money? If they want to waste it, waste it on me!
Julie, Marietta, USA

I agree with those who warn about global warming. I wish Richard Branson would make a fuss about that instead of being so reckless. I hope the government will stop him.
Geoff Payne, London, England

The mere thought of such an adventure makes the mind boggle and causes butterflies in the tummy!
Professor Georges Didier, Lidkoping
The mere thought of such an adventure makes the mind boggle and causes butterflies in the tummy! But to attempt such a trip will be no fun to go it alone. My late mentor and dear friend Leo Buscaglia once said, "A journey, no matter how exciting, cannot be lived unless you have someone with you who could then relate to that trip." Wise words - but in time, I suppose the trip will be affordable by the many. I do not think it's important to be one of the first.
Professor Georges Didier, Lidkoping, Sweden

Yes it is expensive, but so were airline fairs when they first commenced. It is a fact that when something is new it costs a lot more. But once the first step is taken, the price starts to drop. This opens up so much possibility of space travel for the masses. Perhaps a months holiday to the moon would be on the cards for the future?
Andy, Brighton, UK

When you go into space does the "plane" have to land at the same point it took off? I might be nice if the 100,000 meant you got a free trip to Australia or something (assuming the launch pad was at Heathrow airport).
Giles Clinker, London, UK

For that price I hope it's a return ticket
Howard, UK
For that price I hope it's a return ticket. Let's see, how many air miles do I have?
Howard, UK

Richard Branson is an adventurer, entrepreneur and inspiration. Never mind that the projected initial cost is 100k, it is just this kind of foresight that will lead to a private enterprise built space economy. This is surely going to be "one small step for a man, one giant leap for all mankind". I can only dream of going into space, albeit for 3 minutes or so, but with luck and a lot of private investment, maybe, just maybe, I will be able to in the foreseeable future. Good luck Sir Richard...
David Sheppard, Fareham, Hampshire

Brilliant! I'd love to go....but, just like the air travel industry, no one mentions the incredible amounts of pollution that will be pumped into the atmosphere at low and high altitudes. We're seeing the results of greenhouse gas emissions on a daily basis now, with floods, sea current changes and weather changes happening all the time. This will make it worse.
Vince Millett, Croydon, UK

Ha ha, get the train working first Richard! Good attempt at covering up a disappointing day with earthbound technology.
Dave, Bracknell

Yea, I'd love to go!
Mark Bedwell, London
Yea, I'd love to go! Hope they give away a free space flight with every virgin phone purchased
Mark Bedwell, London

Brilliant. Virgin and it's like helped break the backward monopoly of national airlines, and now it's helping to break the monopoly of bureaucratic, slow, over expensive, risk-averse, national space agencies and their big budget contractors. This should have happened years ago.
Tim Oliver, London

Yes it sounds very exciting but does anybody stop for a minute to think about the environment and other far reaching consequences?
Steve Harris, Camborne, UK
Yes it sounds very exciting but does anybody stop for a minute to think about the environment and other far reaching consequences? We should be working towards solving problems on the ground before letting the select few enhance the environmental catastrophe waiting to happen.
Steve Harris, Camborne, UK

I am praying even more for that lottery win!
Kevin

The people who spend money for seat on this flight have more money than sense. My father use to say to me study hard and you'll do well because there is a lot of room at the top of the ladder...This is true, however he forgot to mention that all the top jobs are filled by people who basically rich, don't live in the real world and are intellectually challenged. Why would anybody want to go into outer space when the real world is going on all around them...If these people with so much money to waste want excitement then perhaps they should open their eyes and look around them.
Mark Shanahan, Sussex, UK

Nice publicity stunt, but all rather pointless really
Tony Wernham, Reading
Nice publicity stunt, but all rather pointless really. Stick to the balloons, Richard. (And get your trains to run on time or even run at all).
Tony Wernham, Reading, UK

What is the point spending money on such a baseless trip when people are dying everyday of poverty, hunger and other catastrophes perpetrated by human actions. We should instead focus our resources on helping mankind survive the calamities of recent times.
Rexon Tayong, Sweden/Cameroon

It may seem a lot of money for a fairly short "experience" but this is the first, vital step towards space becoming accessible to the public. The analogy with the development of commercial airlines in the last century is abundantly clear. I have no doubt that spaceflights will be an affordable reality to everyone in 30 or 40 years time.
Dave Hollick, Fareham, England

"General Public" cannot spend 200.000.00 US$ for a brief jump into space altitude. Fully ridiculous statement. Investing and developing space flight on the other hand is very useful and also private enterprise should participate. Just please do not give this ridiculous reasoning as " made available for general public for 200,000.00
Miklos Nomad, Gyor, Hungary

I don't understand the people who have this dream. If I had $200.000 US dollars I'd help the people. That joy would last more that a few minutes. This is my dream.
Anon

I hope it is more reliable than Virgin Trains.
David Patel, Watton, UK

I thought Concorde was expensive!
Adam Squires, Sheffield

I think it is a wonderful idea to go into space for holiday, it would definitely create a lot more jobs specially if Sir Branson plans to build up a Hotel there...
Humza, Bath

This is a dream come true, if I could get the money I would go for sure. Space tourism is the future!
Gareth Loader, Bideford

I have always dreamed of being in space
Jerome Souslier, The Hague, NL
I have always dreamed of being in space. Now I can finally live my dream. I will be putting my house on the market as soon as possible.
Jerome Souslier, The Hague, NL

Thank you Mr Branson, for taking the first steps towards space exploration for the public.
Barry, London, UK

It's the next obvious step now that Burt Rutan has proved it can be done. Branson always seems to be at the right place at the right time, all I need now is some of his entrepreneurial skill and I'll have the money to afford it!
Brian, Botley, UK

This is the crucial wedge in the door! If a profitable business model can "get off the ground", it's only a matter of time before the price comes down. From Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic to commercial jet airliners took less than 40 years. With luck, we can get from this short hop to commercial lunar flights in under 30.
Brian Coughlan, Alingsas

It's wonderful to see a commercial reality in Space tourism at last. If anyone can make it work, Richard Branson can. Where do I join the queue for tickets?
Ray Wright, Devizes, UK

I've started saving! But hopefully Stelios will offer a cheaper trip - EasySpace....
Jeremy Riggs, London, UK

Absolutely fantastic! I don't think I've ever met anyone who wouldn't love to go into space!
Ed, Watlington, UK

The only way to bring down the cost of space flight is to make it available to everyone
Franchesca Mullin, Belfast
I think this is wonderful; it has always been my dream to go up into space. The only way to bring down the cost of space flight is to make it available to everyone, it should evolve in the same way that commercial airlines did: expensive and exclusive at first, but eventually (through mass production and refinement of technology) spawning low cost airlines with planes that carry many hundreds of passengers. I also love the way they are going to call the ship the VSS Enterprise.
Franchesca Mullin, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Nice going Richard, I just wish I could afford to go myself, also a UK launch site would really be a boost for the UK especially if the vessels could be used for things like commercial satellite deployments as well.
David Holder, Aldershot, UK

Like most things, I'm sure there are enough people who would take this up and once it became "normal" and the price became more attractive and "affordable" then I would certainly try and plan a trip. This would be a once in a lifetime "holiday". I suspect it will be several years before it gets to that stage. Having seen umpteen documentaries on Space, I'm fascinated and I think most people if they could afford to go, they would.
Hans, Zurich, Switzerland

I think Mr Branson is great! I have a Lot of respect for him. Anything he does, he always makes a great success of it, I wish him all the luck (not that he will need it) Keep going and don't stop!
Jina Patel, London, England

I would definitely be up for being a passenger. I am currently 31 with a 60,000 mortgage by the time I have paid this I will be able to re-mortgage and get a flight outer space. I have been a keep traveller around the world and being able to leave the atmosphere would be unreal but I do think it is out of the reach of the normal working class people of the world and will only be an option to a select few unfortunately.
Richard Dunn, Leeds

For those who will inevitably say that this is 'pointless', what is the 'point' of going on a foreign holiday? Seeing new things and having new experiences apply here just as much as they do for other 'pointless' activities.
Dominic Tristram, Bath, UK

Paying $200,000 US dollars for a few minutes of joy makes the whole deal sound a bit strange
Sinan, Istanbul, Turkey
It seems like a fantastic thing but paying $200,000 US dollars for a few minutes of joy in a world where hundreds of millions of people suffer for the lack of enough food and running water makes the whole deal sound a bit strange. Being up there and see the stars for yourselves must be something incredibly beautiful on the other hand, I accept.
Sinan, Istanbul, Turkey

Had I the money I'd certainly go!! Anyone who grew up reading SF would.
David, Stockholm, Sweden

Utter nonsense. What is the point if the tour lasts only a few minutes? Extend the 'tour' to a few days and maybe it would be worth the enormous expense (and risk).
Mark, Brisbane, Australia




SEE ALSO:
Virgin boss in space tourism bid
27 Sep 04  |  Science/Nature
Virgin Galactic: The logical next step
27 Sep 04  |  Science/Nature


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