Friday, February 24, 2006

United Arab Emirates Invests $30 Million in Future Spaceport

Following Space Adventures, Ltd's recent announcement it will build its own spaceships and launch its own sub-orbital tourist spaceflights, comes word the United Arab Emirates will help finance its $265 million spaceport near the southern end of the Persian Gulf.

Space Adventures is the first company to offer tourists a trip to the International Space Station for around $20 million a pop. So far three paying passengers have forked over the cash, and plenty more have expressed interest.

CNN reports the company will team with Texas-based venture capital firm, Prodea, for financing and use a craft designed and built by the Russian aerospace firm Myasishchev Design Bureau.

Called Explorer, the new craft will seat five people and utilize a lift and launch system similar to the one used by SpaceShip One.

No potential launch dates have been released.


Darnell Clayton said...

This looks like good news!

Perhaps one of the few items out of that region that brings a smile to our face. :)

I wonder if the Saudi's (and perhaps Israel and Iraq) will begin to encourage space tourism within their borders?

The Space Ace said...

Sounded like good news to us too!
The UAE, one of the most oil-rich nations in the region, has made no secret of its intention to move away from reliance on its finite natural resources and is investing heavily in tourist related facilities--indoor snow skiing, beach resorts and now space tourism. A local official called it "Las Vegas on steroids, only without the gambling" and many Westerners call it the Hong Kong of the Middle East.
Let's hope they remain a shining example for others to follow.