What's the Latest Development?

By 2017, buying a ticket to space will be like 'scheduling a flight to L.A.', say members of the airline industry. Already, reserving a seat aboard a space-bound plane has lost some of its exoticism. When Catherin Culver, a former mission controller at NASA, decided to fulfill her dream of space travel, she went to her local travel agent. For a deposit of $20,000, Culver reserved a seat with Virgin Galactic which is scheduled to begin flights this year from its recently opened spaceport in New Mexico.

What's the Big Idea?

The space tourism industry, which a short time ago would have elicited jokes, is quickly being accepted into the business community. Insurance companies, for example, are marketing policies to cover citizen space travelers. While Virgin Galactic is the most talked-about space tourism company, it is hardly the only one. "XCOR Aerospace of Mojave, California, has more than 100 reservations for a $95,000 seat on its small space plane..." Another company out of Virginina has signed up more than 200 people for $110,000 a seat.