Friday, September 26, 2008

Richard Garriott Interview

Space Tourist Richard Garriott - Yahoo News - another interview:

There are companies like Virgin Galactic now trying to open up commercial space travel right now; did you ever think to yourself, maybe I'll just wait until these are viable and save myself $30 million?

I've been in this a lot longer than there's been a Virgin Galactic. Those of us who founded Space Adventures are, generally speaking, the same people who founded the X-Prize. And the X-Prize is what created the opportunity for Burt Rutan to go build SpaceShipOne, and Virgin Galactic came in and paid to have “Virgin Galactic” painted its tail. They're a latecomer to the party, but an extremely valuable participant; they'll probably fly the first commercial suborbital flights.

A lesser known detail is that many years went by before we were actually able to fund the $10 million prize for the X-Prize. When we envisioned Space Adventures and the X-Prize, we thought basically the X-Prize would get the ships built, and then Space Adventures would fly them. But without the prize being funded, and therefore no ships being built, we said look, even though NASA won't take private citizens, maybe we'll be able to convince the Russians. So we went and we talked to the Russians and they said Yeah, well, we might consider it, but even just to figure out if it were possible and how much it would cost, would cost a lot of money. And I actually personally paid for the study to determine if and how private citizens could fly, with the full intention of actually being the first private citizen to fly. However, that's also when the Internet stock bubble burst, and unfortunately for me that meant my ability to pay for that first space flight disappeared, and so we sold my seat to Dennis Tito.