A new competitor in private industry’s “space race” has drawn the attention — and financial support — of a major airline. Space Expedition Curaçao (SXC) hopes to eventually shuttle human beings between distant points on the Earth in less than two hours, and it appears that Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) is betting that SXC will accomplish that goal.
Although evaluations of various approaches to private space flight — and even "space tourism" — have assessed such efforts as ranging from innovative to quixotic, the concept of private corporations ferrying humans to orbit, or using suborbital craft for high speed transportation around the Earth, has endured. To date, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has often been seen as the most serious contender for being the first to accomplish the feat of creating a fleet of spacecraft for suborbital flights. As reported for The New American in December 2009, over 300 individuals had already committed to a $200,000 per flight price tag to fly on a Virgin Galactic flight. But now SXC has entered the competition, at a dramatically reduced — and yet still fittingly astronomical — price tag of $93,000.
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