Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Deceased--Thomas F. Rogers

Thomas F. Rogers
1924 to February 13th, 2009

"Defense Official Became Space Tourism Booster"


Joe Holley

February 19th, 2009

Washington Post

Thomas F. Rogers, 85, a physicist and former Defense Department deputy director who, in retirement, became a prominent advocate for outer-space tourism, died Feb. 13 of kidney failure at the Vantage House nursing home in Columbia.

Mr. Rogers spent much of his early career as a research administrator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and as deputy director of defense research and engineering at the Pentagon.

Starting in the early 1970s, he worked as a consultant, primarily on space travel, and was founding president and chief scientist of Arlington County-based Space Transportation Association, an advocacy group for space-industry companies. From 1982 to 1984, he also served as the space station study director of the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment.

The longtime McLean resident never had a driver's license -- "I am not competent to drive," he told The Washington Post in 2001 -- but he had long envisioned regularly scheduled "spaceliners" ferrying tourists to orbital hotels, the moon and beyond.

In 2001, a 60-year-old American financier, Dennis Tito, became the first space tourist, paying a reported $20 million to hitch a ride on a Russian rocket to the international space station, returning to Earth eight days later in a Russian space capsule.

Mr. Rogers was infuriated that Tito had to buy his ticket in Russia.

"Why not space tourism?" he told a gathering of fellow enthusiasts not long afterward. "It should be, and I thought would be, characteristically American. But now, but now, we're behind the Russians again. Unbelievable!"

Mr. Rogers knew about competing with Russia.

As a government scientist in the 1950s and 1960s, he worked on making sure that U.S. nuclear missiles could hit the Soviet Union.

The 1957 Russian launch of the satellite Sputnik galvanized his interest in space. Satellites provided a reliable and efficient way to communicate with strategic forces. In particular, he worked on the problem of communicating with U.S. planes and submarines.

Years later, despite his lingering Cold War concerns, he acknowledged that the Russian space tourism program was a valuable milestone. "It changes everything," he told The Post. "We know it can be done. We know that we can survive. We know that people can make money from it."

Thomas Francis Rogers was born in Providence, R.I. He received a bachelor's degree, with honors, from Providence College in 1945 and a master's degree from Boston College in 1949, both in physics.

In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson asked Mr. Rogers to move from the Pentagon to the new Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he headed the department's division of urban research and development.

Mr. Rogers returned to MIT in 1969 and was vice president of the defense contractor Mitre Corp. until his retirement in 1972.

Mr. Rogers acknowledged that some considered his enthusiasm for space tourism more than a little quixotic.

In a 2005 interview with Today's Engineer, a publication of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, he recalled delivering a talk on civilians traveling in space and afterward finding his wife in tears.

He asked her why she was crying. "Because I can't stand so many people laughing at you," she said.

In 1996, Mr. Rogers, through his family foundation, provided a portion of the seed money for the X Prize, an effort organized by St. Louis businessman Peter Diamandis to spur the development of safe, reliable, reusable and economical space ships.

The first X Prize, $10 million, went to Burt Rutan and the crew of SpaceShipOne for reaching the cusp of space twice in the fall of 2004.

Mr. Rogers expected to be a space tourist himself. He wanted to look down on Earth and contemplate what he was seeing, but a heart attack in 2000 dashed his dream.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Estelle Hunt Rogers of Columbia; three daughters, Hope Grove of Ellicott City, Clare Rogers of Kittery Point, Maine, and Judith Reynolds of Roanoke; a sister; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

His personal entry from NASA's The Challenge Project:

Meet: Thomas F. Rogers

Chairman, The Sophron Foundation and President, The Space Transportation Association

Who I am - words that describe me:

Scientist (Physicist); Engineer (Communications); Public/Private Administrator.
I am primarily interested in what I do professionally, rather than who I am. (Others could well describe me differently, either because they see me from a different perspective or because we all have an infinite capacity for self delusion.)

My personal challenges:

1. In the early 1970s I was a member of a professional group at the National Academy of Sciences/Institute of Medicine. It was formed to advise the just-created Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that had aspirations to conduct a national health service delivery program.

Coincidentally, NASA was then conducting the Skylab program.

We noted that during their orbital stays, in the near-absence of the local force of gravity, the astronauts experienced atrophied muscles, brittle bones, and decreased cardiovascular and respiratory capacity. In time, I observed to my medical associates that these physiological characteristics are similar to those which accompany human aging, and that aging-related life sciences studies might be able to be conducted in orbit in an accelerated manner.

I then suggested to NASA that it consider making such studies. A decade later, as the director of the Congressional Space Station study, I saw that this opportunity was mentioned in its final report. And half a dozen years later, the Sophron Foundation and the Evans Foundation brought together life scientists from our National Institute on Aging and NASA to inquire whether or not such studies should be made. They decided that they could and should be made. Plans to commence doing so began to be laid soon thereafter.

This is a bit of history that, a quarter of a century later, introduces the matter of John Glenn returning to orbit to be engaged there on the Shuttle in aging-related life sciences research studies.

See: "Civilian Space Stations and the U.S. Future in Space", Congress of the United States, Office of Technology Assessment, Washington, D.C., 1984; especially pages 117-118 "Medical Research of Direct Interest to the General Public."

2. During the mid-1960s I was a Deputy Director of Defense Research and Engineering in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

While there, if I wanted to give important instructions regarding the Defense activities for which I was responsible to those who were expected to carry them out, I found it best to do so in my office in the Pentagon.

But if I wanted to be sure that I understood what was actually going on in the "real world" with respect to such activities, it was mandatory that I go out into the field and work along with their leaders for awhile. As a consequence, I often time visited places far from Washington, D.C., in areas of potential and actual military conflict. And I spent time on aircraft carriers and submarines in remote areas, in B-52s, etc.

For over two years ending last March I was a co-Director of a cooperative NASA-STA study that inquired into the possibility of a potentially large "space tourism" business being created in the United States.

One of the Recommendations of this study is that "...senior Federal officials responsible for our civil and business space interests [should] consider taking the lead in opening up space to the general public by taking trips to space themselves."

It is in this context that, by NASA invitation, I am now planning to visit the underwater Scott Carpenter Space Analog Station -- the nearest that I shall be able to come to visiting orbit. (I became 75 years old last month.)

See: "General Public Space Travel and Tourism -Volume I Executive Summary", the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Space Transportation Association, NP-1998-03-11-MSFC, March, 1998; especially page 20.

My career:

1. As the president of the Space Transportation Association, I am responsible for advancing the interests of its members in identifying, supporting and promoting those initiatives within the business community and the government which assure continued U.S. leadership in providing safe, reliable and economical space transportation.

2. As the chairman of the Sophron Foundation I oversee its resources being used, under its charter, to:

Ameliorate problems of the very young;

Ameliorate problems of the very old; and

Do useful things in space.

Likes/Dislikes about career:

1. Seeing important and useful changes made in the lives of individuals who otherwise would not be able to do so, and seeing larger societal changes come about that, on balance, make life somewhat more secure and livable for many; and

2. Being at the "crest of the wave", where novel and significant professional and societal changes are being made.

I would change nothing - beyond seeing more people agree with my professional views, sooner.

Future goals:

In the space domain, I have played useful roles in the early development of satellite communications, navigation and position fixing. But as a citizen of the United States, the world's greatest democracy, I continue to be disappointed that our Country is not working much harder than it is to see our general public, as well as our professional astronauts, have the opportunity to make trips into space. This should now be the unique U.S. contribution to the future of space. I am working to see this come about.

My thoughts about space exploration:

Space exploration interests me primarily because many/most of our civil space leaders want to see our people return to the Moon and emigrate to Mars. While I have an interest in seeing us do so, as I have just noted, my primary interest is that of seeing space opened up to the general public.

I am now working to advance a proposal that would see both of these ends addressed in concert: the acceptance of a novel public-private space "compact" that would see NASA extend itself to prompt the latter to happen in our private sector and thereby obtaining approval and funding for the former.

Comments by Robert Hodierne:

"Space Toutism"


Robert Hodierne

December 9th, 2001

Washington Post Sunday Magazine

Tom Rogers is a frail-looking 78-year-old man whose unruly wisps of white hair and oversize black-framed glasses make him seem like central casting's idea of a scientist. This day, Rogers, who is in fact a scientist, is a mad scientist. You can see it in his body language -- lips pursed, elbows tight against his body as if he can't chance letting his arms fly. He might hit something. His words come out with bite. "Why not space tourism? It should be and I thought would be characteristically American. But now," and here he pauses as if in pain, "but now we're behind the Russians again. Unbelievable!"

Rogers is furious that a 60-year-old American financier, Dennis Tito, became the first space tourist last spring -- paying a reported $20 million to ride a Russian rocket to the international space station, and returning to Earth eight days later in a Russian space capsule to, of all places, Russia. The roomful of people to whom Rogers is speaking nod and murmur in agreement. He is preaching to the converted. They all believe space should be opened to you and me, that our government or private enterprise or some combination of the two should spend billions of dollars to develop the technology that would let us take weekend jaunts in space that could, they argue, end up costing as little as $10,000 a ride. That's about what it used to cost to take the Concorde to Paris and back.

In the not-too-distant future they see regularly scheduled "spaceliners" heading for orbiting hotels, the moon and beyond. In their vision, a chain will have to be put around the footprints left on the moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin so the tourist hordes won't wipe them out.

It would be easy to dismiss Rogers and his listeners as a bunch of loony cranks. Space hotels? Spaceliners? And yet -- Rogers is the real deal, a well-regarded physicist who got his start as a government scientist right out of Providence College at the end of World War II working on radar (actually, radar countermeasures, which, considering how cutting edge radar was, made his work even more cutting edge). Except for a brief stint on Wall Street, where he made enough money "to do whatever I want," he has worked for the federal government all of his life. Among other things, he chaired the Office of Technology Assessment's space station study back in 1984.

The 70 people in the audience have traveled from Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Australia to hear Rogers and others at a daylong conference. And while the get-together doesn't have government support, it is being held one bright summer day in the grand and imposing caucus room of the Cannon House Office Building. Among the co-hosts are the never-frivolous U.S. Chamber of Commerce as well as Georgetown University and the University of Houston. There is no one wearing a beanie with a propeller on top. (But there are a fair number of people who have the aura of real estate speculators, opening the possibility that at dinner you're going to start getting phone calls that begin, "Hi, I'd like to talk to you about an out of this world vacation.")

Before Rogers gave his talk, the conference heard from a Japanese academic who said Japanese airlines have commissioned preliminary plans for a spaceliner to be called the Kankoh-maru, or sightseeing ship. (Rogers looked as if he'd had an attack of heartburn when he heard that. First the Russians, now the Japanese . . .) There was an Italian architect with renderings of an orbiting hotel (her design was very Italian, very stylish). And there was an Australian marketing man who predicted there would be one taker a year at $20 million a trip, 1,000 takers at $1 million a trip, and a million folks lined up each year when the price drops to $10,000. All of these people agree: There is big money to be made in outer space.

At the heart of the space tourism movement is Rogers. He is an unlikely maverick. In the 1950s and '60s, he worked on making sure U.S. nuclear missiles could hit the Soviet Union. In particular, he worked on the problem of communicating with American planes and submarines. The 1957 Russian launch of Sputnik changed that whole world. Satellites provided a way to reliably and efficiently communicate with far-flung strategic forces. He's been interested in space ever since. He became one of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara's whiz kids (his title was deputy director of defense research and engineering). In addition to working on command and control of nuclear strike forces, he was present at the birth of satellite navigation.

One other thing you should know about this man who would have us travel in the most complicated machines ever conceived: He has never had a driver's license. "I am not competent to drive," he says with no further explanation.

Rogers still retains a Cold Warrior attitude toward the Russians, which is why Dennis Tito's trip galled him.

One on one, Rogers is far less angry-sounding than in public. In a brown-striped seersucker suit and colorful tie, he speaks thoughtfully and with care. Instead of the biting rhetoric about the Russians of his speech, here he says, "I have really mixed emotions about this stuff. If we don't have competition, nothing will ever happen. But that the competition comes from the former Soviet Union really gravels me. I have to say that."

Despite its ties with Russia, Tito's trip energized Rogers. "It changes everything," he says. "We know it can be done. We know that we can survive. We know that people can make money from it."

For the past 15 years, he has been proselytizing that it is our right to travel in space. Today he works pro bono as chief scientist of the Space Transportation Association, an advocacy group that operates out of offices in a vaguely futuristic, wedge-shaped high-rise in Shirlington. His group shares the office with High Frontier Inc., a nonprofit think tank devoted to promoting the Space Defense Initiative. ("Demanding our nation be protected from ballistic missile attack," High Frontier's Web site proclaims.) The two groups share a common interest in reducing the cost per pound to put stuff in orbit but for very different purposes. "Whatever else this country is doing in space," Rogers once told Congress, "our very character as Americans dictates that we should be opening up space for the general public."

When Rogers first started talking in public about space tourism, his wife, Estelle, refused to come hear him speak. "I can't stand people laughing at you," she told him. Today, as one Federal Aviation Administration official puts it, "space tourism now passes the laugh test."

It's quite apparent when you walk into the lobby of Space Adventures in Ballston that it is an unusual travel agency: Plastic models of Russian Soyuz rockets are the eye-catching decor. Posters touting women in space and mapping out the solar system decorate its conference room walls.

Space Adventures is the company that takes credit for the idea of sending Dennis Tito into space with the Russians and it is working right now with Mark Shuttleworth, a 27-year-old South African dot-com millionaire who is negotiating with the Russians to be the next space tourist.

"We're going to have a profound effect on the future," says Eric Anderson, the earnest 27-year-old who helped found Space Adventures. It is Anderson and his three-year-old company that are most directly addressing the question of whether there is a market for space tourism.

Space Adventures is best known for booking tourist rides in Russian MiG-25 Foxbats. For about $13,000, you can fly from a Moscow airport at 2.5 times the speed of sound to an altitude of 16 miles, the highest and fastest ride available to those who are not astronauts or fighter pilots. To date, 65 tourists have taken those rides.

Now Anderson and his company are preparing to open the lower reaches of space to a much wider audience. They are planning to sell hour-long rides that will essentially duplicate the 1961 suborbital flights of Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom, reaching an altitude of 60 miles but not actually going into orbit. (To win astronaut wings you have to reach an altitude of 50 miles, more than three times higher than those MiG Foxbat rides.)

Anderson acknowledges that in its early days, space tourism is bound to be terrifying, uncomfortable and, yes, dangerous. But then again, so is climbing Mount Everest. Yet every year more than 100 people paying more than $50,000 each reach the summit (and, on average, three a year die trying). Tito was airsick during the two-day ride to the space station, but, once there, he reported back to Earth, "I don't know about this adaptation that they're talking about. I'm already adapted. I love space!" Even with the risks, proponents believe there are enough people who want space vacations to create the economies of scale needed to reduce the cost of putting stuff in orbit. The current cost of $10,000 per pound has to fall to something more like $100 per pound to make commercial space travel viable.

Space tourism boosters point to polling data in which people say they would pay good money to fly into space. But the most convincing evidence of a potential market is this: More than 100 companies and individuals have made cash deposits on the $100,000 suborbital flights Space Adventures is touting. Their deposits, $1.7 million in all, sit in a Space Adventure trust account. And keep this in mind: They've made the deposits even though development of a vehicle to provide the ride is years away. Those who book suborbital rides with Space Adventures will undergo a mere four days of training for what is expected to be a one-hour flight. Unlike Shepard and Grissom, these tourists won't splash down in the ocean. They will take off and land from a "spaceport." When it's over, Anderson says with the practiced polish of a successful salesman making his closing pitch, "they'll join that exclusive class of 406 people who have flown in space."

Many of those booking reservations with Space Adventures are companies like First USA Bank and Pizza Hut, who are looking for promotional opportunities. No one has announced exactly how those promotions would work but the possibilities include contests with space rides as prizes. One individual with a seat reserved is Wally Funk, one of 13 women who trained with the original Mercury astronauts in the early 1960s but never got a ride. "I want to go. My heart's in it," the 62-year-old pilot said from her home in Trophy Club, Tex., where she teaches flying. "You don't know how sick I was that I didn't get to go. I didn't hold it against NASA. They had their parameters. When I was rejected by the Mercury program I knew one day I'd be a paying passenger." Funk's late mother, who encouraged her daughter to fly, made provisions in her will to pay for the flight.

When Anderson talks about the future of space tourism, he points to other benefits. For example, vehicles capable of hauling sightseers into orbit could also be used for rapid, point-to-point transportation. Washington to Sydney in 45 minutes, for example. Anderson believes "space business jets" capable of flying his suborbital missions will be available in three years, an optimistic timeline, according to the people at NASA, where they put the figure at five to seven years.

The FAA, which will have to license such flights, has yet to develop safety standards for commercial spaceships. No one has even applied for a license to test such a vehicle. And just how safe should space flight be before the FAA licenses vacation jaunts?

Daniel S. Goldin, who recently retired as NASA administrator after nine years on the job, says that NASA's professional space shuttle crews know there is "a 1 in 250 probability they are not coming back." He contrasts that with a 1 in 20,000 probability flying air combat and 1 in 2 million for commercial airline passengers. "This is very serious stuff," he says, and should be reserved for highly trained professionals. "It is not for the faint of heart. This is not Disneyland."

To spur the development of safe, reliable, reusable and economical spaceships, space tourism promoters have turned to one of aviation's great traditions: prizes. The history of aviation advances is marked by competitions, such as the 1909 $2,500 London Daily Mail Prize for the first powered flight across the English Channel, the Guggenheim prizes in the late 1920s to promote air safety and the $25,000 Orteig Prize that Charles Lindbergh won in 1927 for flying the "Spirit of St. Louis" from New York to Paris, the first nonstop solo transatlantic flight. In that spirit, a 40-year-old St. Louis businessman, Peter Diamandis, has organized the X Prize (with a goal of $10 million) for the first group to send a vehicle capable of carrying three people 60 miles up and back, and then repeating the feat within two weeks using the same vehicle. The idea being that until vehicles can be turned around quickly and inexpensively, the cost of space travel will never decrease. The shuttle, for instance, takes months and millions of dollars to prepare for reuse.

Diamandis organized the prize because, he says, "I want to personally travel in space." It is a fascination that began when, as a fourth-grader, he watched the Apollo mission to the moon. He went on to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in aerospace engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a medical degree from Harvard. He has done research in molecular genetics, space medicine and launch vehicle design. "I spent 10 years in grad school getting my medical degree and graduate degree because I wanted to be an astronaut," he says. But then he calculated the odds of being picked -- about 1,000 to 1. "And then I'd only get to travel into space three or four times," he says. "That's not my vision of the future I want to live. In my vision of the future, space is a place for entrepreneurs and explorers and pioneers and adventurers."

Twenty groups have entered the contest, but no one is especially close to actually launching. None have entered into even the most preliminary discussions with the FAA. "I am expecting to have to pay up in the 2003 time frame," he says. Assuming he can raise the $10 million. He says he's about halfway there. (If you put up the other $5 million, the X in X Prize may become your name.)

Some of the seed money for the prize came from the family foundation set up and run by Rogers. "Not much, but it's enough," Rogers says. "We gave him money to get money."

Then there's the $10,000 Bigelow Prize being offered by Las Vegas real estate magnate Robert Bigelow. It is an award to be given annually to the American individual or group that contributes the most "toward the promotion and/or use of space for private enterprise purposes without government ownership." The prize, awarded for the first time last summer, went to Spacehab Inc., a provider of commercial space services, including habitat modules, laboratory modules and cargo carriers for NASA's space shuttles. Spacehab donated the prize to a scholarship program for young people interested in space.

Bigelow is not a rocket scientist. He got rich owning apartments and Budget Suites of America, a string of motels in the Southwest. Now 57, Bigelow grew up in Las Vegas, which, he says, in the 1950s was like a setting for a science fiction movie: bright lights; children, including Bigelow, standing in school playgrounds watching nuclear bomb mushroom clouds over the Nevada test site; waves of fighter planes screaming overhead from Nellis Air Force Base breaking windows as they broke the sound barrier; and a series of UFO sightings. "That was when the fantasy began," he says in a telephone interview. "I've been waiting to get into what I've started for over 40 years."

Two years ago he formed Bigelow Aerospace in Las Vegas. Naturally enough, being an innkeeper, "I decided what I wanted to do was approach it from a destination point of view," he says. Hotels in outer space? "We're talking guesthouse here," he says. "Something far more modest."

His team of two dozen engineers and scientists is working on an inflatable structure with a multilayered Kevlar skin that he says would be cheaper and stronger than the existing space station, which he describes as an "aluminum can."

"I'm prepared to spend a lot, but there's a line," he says. "I'm going to be investing hundreds of millions in this venture," in addition to his annual $10,000 prize. "We're going to have some fun, and we might even make a difference."

Open space to a wider public, Rogers believes, and "things will go on that NASA never thought of." To illustrate that, he points to William Stone, whom Rogers described as a guy "who wants to jump from the shuttle."

Stone does not describe what he has in mind as jumping from the shuttle. Stone, a sane and competent man, heads the construction metrology and automation group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an arm of the Commerce Department. That means he works on things like robots for construction and remote sensing. But that's just his day job. He describes himself as a "semiprofessional explorer," who has fielded multimillion-dollar expeditions exploring not outer space but underwater space. He led an expedition in the late 1990s that mapped the Wakulla Springs, Fla., caverns, an undertaking that involved inventing and building equipment that allows divers to spend up to 12 hours at depths of 300 feet. It was the subject of a National Geographic documentary.

Now Stone has turned his attention to space travel. He has come up with what he believes is a way to return safely and economically from space stations (building the space stations and getting up there is someone else's problem). His system, which he won't describe in detail for competitive-business reasons, would fit in a couple of duffel bags and weigh about 500 pounds. His reusable device would return passengers softly to any spot on Earth with an accuracy of 100 meters, he says. All for only $3 million to $5 million in development costs. By contrast, he said NASA's approach to return vehicles could cost $100 million to implement.

"We're talking about building something novel that's not built by Lockheed," he says. "The idea here is to make the thing usable by anybody."

Dan Goldin is, in fact, a big believer in space tourism. Or so he says, sitting back in his chair with his cowboy-booted legs crossed as technicians in his office fiddle with a new, high-definition television monitor that he can't get to work. This idea would come as a great surprise to many in the space tourism world. For them, NASA and Goldin in particular have been favorite targets. In the view of many space tourism proponents, Goldin's opposition to Tito's visit to the space station was wrongheaded.

Goldin ran NASA from 1992 until last month, making him its longest-serving administrator. A poor kid from the South Bronx who had 25 years with defense contractor TRW before joining NASA, Goldin managed to survive the first Bush administration, two terms of the Clinton administration and the first year of the second Bush administration by being pretty adroit. But he also doesn't mince words. "Flying rich guys and gals in space is not space tourism," he says.

Goldin believes it will be decades before the price for orbital flights comes down to levels that even people as well paid as he is could afford. In the meantime, untrained tourists like Tito just get in the way of serious work being done in the space station and put everyone at risk. He points to what happened on the submarine USS Greeneville last February. Its bridge crowded with VIP tourists, the Greeneville surfaced under and sank a Japanese fishing boat, killing nine. "This is not playtime," he says.

Rogers says too much of the discussion today centers on the barriers to putting tourists in space rather than on the opportunities. "Think ahead 30 years," he says. "What will have happened by then will be the beginning of [space] emigration. There will be more and more people staying longer and longer."

He won't be one of them, however. Rogers had a hard attack a year and a half ago. "Up until [then], I would have gone. I would just be able to look down and see the Earth and contemplate what I'd be seeing."

Instead, he says, he'll continue to spend his time thinking about what all those space travelers of the future will be doing. And what will that be? Medical research, manufacturing, and, at the far end of the spectrum, he says, "dance will be completely different."

A rather large list of Tom Roger's publications...many of which are online...

Space Future


Space Transportation Association


Anousheh Ansari

This is the website of Anousheh Ansari; the first female space tourist. Within her website, Anousheh discusses her dream of becoming a space traveller and how this became a reality; her mission as Space Ambassador and how others can benefit from her experiences. The site includes up to date news and a photo gallery. Links to external related sites are also provided.

Anousheh Ansari space blog

This is the blog of the first female space tourist; American business woman Anousheh Ansari. The blog was created by friends in order to support her mission; it is also intended that Anousheh will contribute herself; achieving another first - the first person to blog from space. Links to related external sites are also provided.

Lift-off for woman space tourist

From the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) news site, this news item describes an American business woman's take-off on a Russian Soyuz rocket from Baikonur in Kazakhstan into Space. Ms Anousheh Ansari is the world's first female space tourist, thought to have spent at least twenty million dollars (10.6 million pounds) for the experience. An audio visual clip of the item and related links are also available.

Near Term Prospects for Space Tourism

This is a report prepared by Interglobal Space Lines Inc for the Sophron Foundation. The Sophron Foundation are particularly interested in the market for, and promotion and development of space tourism. The report primarily looks at the viability of space tourism and discusses the requirements for its development and any impediments to space activity. Medical and physiological requirements of passengers are examined as well as regulatory, liability, and political issues. The entire paper is also available in Rich Text Format for downloading to PCs. Users may also download in PDF format using Adobe Acrobat Reader software.

Space Adventures

Space Adventures describe themselves as being "the only company in the world currently operating commercial orbital spaceflight and will be the first to launch clients using a new breed of lower cost suborbital spacecraft currently under development worldwide."

Space Adventures provide training on space travel and the preparations required. Information about the company and its services are provided on the site, along with news, an image gallery and links. The navigation at the top of the screen categorises information into vehicles, destinations and programmes. The site also has a section devoted to Anousheh Ansari (the first female space tourist), which details the training provision that she received, her mission goals and images.

Space Island Group

The Space Island Group plans to develop a "stand-alone commercial space structure" and to "operate commercial space transportation systems and destinations that are dedicated to commerce, research, space solar power, satellite repair, manufacturing and tourism." The project has the support of Arthur. C. Clarke; further information is available on the website as well as details of proposed vehicles and launch systems, programmes and services. News and press releases are also available.

Space Tourism

This is part of the Space Future website, covering vehicles, power and habitat, as well as tourism. It features an introduction to space tourism, a timeline of events, the portrayal of space tourism in science fiction, and articles about the future of space tourism, such as space hotels, market research, finance and suggested sports and leisure activities. The Tourism archive contains details of published articles on aspects of space travel and tourism, many available in full-text. There are also links to related websites and to other sections of the Space Future website, including a glossary of terms and the Space Future Journal.

Space tourism

This article is part of an interactive online lesson for high schools taught as part of the NASA sponsored, Texas Aerospace Scholars Program. Located within chapter six, Back to the Moon, in the Earth to Mars module, it provides a useful summary of recent developments in the field of space tourism, with links to related resources. Some of the links are dated but you are advised to access the resources directly.

Virgin Galactic

This is the website of the Virgin Galactic company, which aims to develop, popularise and promote space tourism. This website encompasses information on the development, science, safety, experience, training and projected timetable for commercial space travel as well as company information. This website has a useful frequently asked questions section. This website is also available in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian and German. Flash and non-flash versions of the website are available, with the multimedia aspects available only on the flash version.

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