Boeing's Space Taxi
Boeing Wednesday announced an agreement with Space Adventures Ltd. regarding the marketing of "transportation services to destinations in low Earth orbit (LEO) on Boeing commercial crew spacecraft." Boeing plans to use its Crew Space Transportation-100 (CST-100) spacecraft for missions to the International Space Station and other LEO platforms. Under the agreement, Space Adventures will market excess seating capacity as passenger seats. The spacecraft can carry seven and is expected to be operational by 2015, but is still under development. Seat pricing will be set "when full-scale development is under way." Eric Anderson, co-founder and chairman of Space Adventures, said, "We are excited about the potential to offer flights on Boeing's spacecraft." According to Boeing, potential customers include "private individuals, companies, non-governmental organizations and U.S. federal agencies other than NASA." And Space Adventures already has experience in the field and hopes to expand its offerings.
Space Adventures offers a range of experiences, from atmospheric weightless flights to orbital missions. It has already contracted and flown "seven spaceflight participants on eight missions to the International Space Station." Its clients have spent "over 2,000 hours in space" and have collectively travelled "over 35 million miles," according to the company. The last customer rode on a Soyuz capsule for a seat price of $40 million. If the company has its way, it will one day be marketing seats aboard a craft that will make a "historic return to the moon." Of course, they may find themselves in competition with Virgin Galactic and other pioneering efforts in space tourism. Boeing's version expects to launch from Kennedy Space Center and return to White Sands, N.M.