I have a goal for my lifetime - not for myself specifically, but for the human race. By the time I die I'd like to see Mars colonized. Naturally I'd love to be one of the colonists myself, but that seems quite unlikely and I can live with that, as long as there are
colonists. If we're still stuck on this ball of rock at the end of my life, I'll find that profoundly depressing.
For that reason it's with great joy that I watch the reports of SpaceShipOne making its two successful X-Prize
flights, the second being this morning. And read about Virgin Galactic
and its plan to launch "affordable" (merely several hundred thousand dollar) commercial tourist space flights in the SS1-based VSS Enterprise. Incidentally, Branson really knows how to pick names, doesn't he? On one level, it's the height of arrogance to use the word "Galactic" and the name of a fictional starship in a venture that won't even be reaching orbit. On another level it shows very clearly that Branson isn't going to be satisfied with pathetic little suborbital hops, and that his dreams are MUCH bigger than that. Which is exactly what you want in someone pioneering commercial spaceflight.
On an unrelated note, this site is slow in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. Sorry about this - I'm using Dean Edwards' excellent IE7
software to add support for modern HTML and image formats into Internet Explorer. Adding the support dynamically on every page load is rather slow. If you want to avoid this delay, use a modern browser, such as Firefox