Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Sir Richard Branson, pimp-in-orbit

"...VIP guests and "future astronauts" – the 300 or more people who have pledged $200,000 (£122,000) each for a place on board SpaceShipTwo and the chance to boldly go where only a handful of professional space travellers have gone before – were nothing if not gracious.

They rippled with excitement at the sight of Burt Rutan, the engineering genius who figured out how to build a craft that could re-enter the atmosphere "carefree" without the need for nerve-rackingly precise piloting by either humans or computers. They rushed around Brian Binnie, one of the pioneering pilots who penetrated the atmosphere aboard Rutan's SpaceShipOne back in 2004, as though he were Tom Cruise, or Robert Pattinson.

When the engineering team – a line-up of aerodynamic and machine specialists with dishevelled hair, smudged glasses and poorly fitting jeans – were introduced as "rock stars", they got the reception to match."""

At $200,000 shekels a ride, boldly go where only pro-astro-dweebs have gone before! (that is, assuming the Rutan-gear proves worthy).Spectator capitalism marches on.

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