Currently, the most prepared companies planning to engage in space tourism is Virgin Galactic. This company has quite ready to fly a spaceship, the last (and quite successfully) preliminary tests, has its own spaceport, is Richard Branson, head of Virgin, which does not limit their offspring in the media.
Thanks Branson reputation and potential of the company seems to have about 700 people paid 250 thousand dollars for a ticket to a future flights in near-Earth space.
However, the desire to fly into space for civilian may remain desire - so far no license for the "space carting" no company has received. A similar document must give a special body, the Federal Aviation Administration.
What is the difficulty? H4>
Documents to obtain such a license company Branson began preparing as far back as 2004. In the past, in 2013, the company announced its intention to carry out the first flight under the program of space tourism in 2014, but without a license to fly a civilian on board simply can not. Branson himself will not be able to fly on its own the same boat (of course, with the pilot), if his company would not be appropriate license.
Now on the shoulders of officials from the Federal Aviation Administration is quite a heavy load, because if something happens to the first (and any subsequent) flight will be responsible not only for Virgin Galactic, but also on the officials who approved the activities of this company, and gave her license.
Prepared a package of documents has been submitted to officials in August of last year, and according to the law, consent or refusal of a license shall be given not later than 6 months from the date of filing. In other words, in February, all of which should be known.
The decision of the officials would set a precedent for other companies, including XCOR Aerospace, SpaceX and Blue Origin, which develop their own spaceships / stratospheric balloons.
One of the well-known experts on the "space tourism", Professor Dirk Gibson (University of New Mexico) argues that it would be "very surprised if someone will fly later this year. Most likely talking about flying in 2015 ».
The complexity in the fact that there is not a regulatory policy for private spaceflight. However, the Federal Aviation Administration, to begin work on the creation of appropriate rules in 2004, hoped to "thousands of test" flight in 2012, on the basis of which it was possible to write the relevant rules. But such operations were carried out in all three, and all were held by Branson. Accordingly, the data for the introduction of anything like real rules and mechanisms are simply not enough.
But in spite of everything, the leadership of Virgin Galactic has expressed confidence that all the necessary documents and procedures will be ready in the next few months. Well, and is unlikely to be such a pragmatic person, as Branson (though he was not a billionaire thanks to the romantic dreams of space for all) would invest tens of millions of dollars in venture whose fate all the time would be hung in the balance.
Well, we'll hope so, if we want to go on such a ship as a space tourist. Hopefully more and that the ticket price is 250 thousand US dollars will still be slightly reduced in the case of the widespread practice of space tourism.