$200K and We Can’t See a Thing? Who Booked This Space Tourism Trip?


Rocketplane Global CEO Chuck Lauer raised a really interesting question during his presentation at Space Access ’09 on Saturday: Does it make sense to launch space tourists from a place with notoriously bad weather?

Lauer was referring to a proposal being explored by rival space tourism company Virgin Galactic to launch from Scotland – a country with notoriously overcast weather. A key selling point for millionauts is the view of the Earth they will get from 100 kilometers up. If it’s largely clouds, then what is the benefit of that?

Lauer said the idea left him scratching his head. Rocketplane Global will launch its suborbital vehicle from Oklahoma, which Lauer said has good weather most of the time. Virgin Galactic has committed to launches from Spaceport America in New Mexico, which also has good weather much of the year.

Lauer raises an excellent question, actually. I would have asked Virgin Galactic about it today, but they didn’t send anyone to the conference here in Phoenix. I’ll put it on my list.