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2006-02-05 00:00   来源:       我要纠错 | 打印 | 收藏 | | |


  Will We Take Vacation in Spaces?

  When Mike Kelly first set out to build his own private space-ferry service, he figured his bread-and-butter business would be lofting satellites into high-Earth orbit. Now he thinks he may have figured wrong. "People were always asking me when they could go," says Kelly, who runs Kelly Space & Technology out of San Bernardino, California. "I realized that real market is in space tourism."

  According to preliminary market surveys, there are 10,000 would be space tourists willing to spend $1 million each to visit the final frontier. Space Adventure in Arlington, Virginia, has taken more than 130 deposits for a two-hour, $98,000 space tour tentatively (and somewhat dubiously) set to occur by 2005. Gene Meyers of the Space Island Group says: "Space is the next exotic vacation spot."

  This may all sound great, but there are a few hurdles. Putting a simple satellite into orbit -with no oxygen, life support or return trip necessary-already costs an astronomical $22,000/kg. And that doesn't include the cost of insuring rich and possibly litigious passenger. John Pike of the Federation of American Scientists acerbically suggests that the entire group of entrepreneurs trying to corner the space-tourism market have between them "just enough money to blow up one rocket." The U.S. space agency has plenty of money but zero interest in making space less expensive for the little guys. So the little guys are racing to do what the government has failed to do: design a reusable launch system that's inexpensive, safe and reliable. Kelly Space's prototype looks like a plane that has sprouted rocket engines. Rotary Rocket in Redwood City, California, has a booster with rotors make a helicopter-style return to Earth; Kistler Aerospace in Kirkland, Washington, is piecing together its versions from old Soviet engines, shuttle-style thermal protection tiles and an elaborate parachute system. The first passenger countdowns are still years away, but bureaucrats at the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington are already informally discussing flight regulations. After all, you can't be too prepared for a trip to that galaxy far, far away.

  For those who are intent on joining the 100-mile high club, Hilton and Budget are plotting to build space hotels. Before the Russian space Mir came down, some people were talking about using it as a low-rent space motel to reduce the cost. If a space hotel is finally built in space, and if you're thinking of staying in it, you may want to check the Michelin ratings before booking yourself a suite.


  1. Mike Kelly planned to turn his business of making bread and butter into a business that is engaged in space tourism.

  A) True B) False C) Not mentioned

  2. Kelly hoped to develop space tourism, which he thought would be a good market.

  A) True B) False C) Not mentioned

  3. Space Adventure in Arlington has taken 130 deposits totaling $98,000 for a two hour space tour.

  A) True B) False C) Not mentioned

  4. It sounds great that soon there will be space residence, although it is still a tentative plan.

  A) True B) False C) Not mentioned

  5. Some of the hurdles space tourism faces include a lack of oxygen and life support equipment.

  A) True B) False C) Not mentioned

  6. Little guys, who do not have plenty of money but have great interest in space tourism, are trying to make the space travel less expensive but more reliable.

  A) True B) False C) Not mentioned

  7. We can infer from the context that the Michelin ratings can help people to find prices of hotels.

  A) True B) False C) Not mentioned


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