This is Silly
The Space News editorial Nov. 24 [“A Little Caution Doesn’t Hurt,” page 18] supported NASA’s plans to spend $400,000 studying the potential for NASA missions on the hopefully soon-to-fly suborbital space tourist vehicles. This money will probably buy a person-year of effort to produce a report that will gather dust somewhere. This is silly.
It would be far better for NASA to buy a $200,000 ticket on SpaceShipTwo and two $100,000 tickets on Armadillo’s planned suborbital vehicle and solicit proposals for free tickets. Interested university professors can then use cheap student labor and beg-borrow-or-steal hardware to fly experiments. Even if the experiments are lousy the participants will learn a lot more than anyone will from the proposed report.