From: Space Frontier Foundation
Posted: Monday, June 25, 2001
The House Subcommittee on Space is holding a hearing Tuesday to discuss the future of citizen space travel. Space Frontier Foundation President Rick Tumlinson, Apollo 11 astronaut "Buzz" Aldrin, Michael Hawes, Deputy Assoc. Director of Space Station, and Dennis Tito, first citizen explorer in space, will testify at the Rayburn House Office Building, between 2:00 and 4:00 pm.
The Foundation believes many are getting the wrong message about Dennis Tito's flight to space station Alpha, and have become too focused on trying to turn the unfinished station into a "tourist" destination. "Our goal should not be to convert (Alpha) to an orbital hotel and spa,"
explained Tumlinson. "Space tourism is not the government's job. The government's investment in the station and its infrastructure should be the economic catalyst for a new orbital community - including commercial hotels and facilities in the Alpha neighborhood."
In the Foundation's view, privately owned co-orbital facilities create huge opportunities for all involved. They decrease pressure to accommodate visitors aboard the International Space Station, increase safety by providing redundancy in emergency situations, and most importantly, begin a new space industry unlimited by the physical scope of the government's station.
Regarding space transportation, Tumlinson stated: "We must also be careful about giving away individual seats on government vehicles to potential private sector customers as this would undercut the very competitive environment we need to lower costs." He added, "We don't need any more taxpayer funded space translators. The people get it. Most just cannot afford it."
For more information about the Space Frontier Foundation, call 1(800) 78-SPACE, or visit our website: www.space-frontier.org.
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