Report: Space Tourism to Take off by 2014

Suborbital commercial space tourism flights are set to take off by 2013 or 2014, Reuters reports, and the Obama administration expects space tourism to grow into a $1 billion industry in 10 years.

"This is a new and growing industry. If you look at the last 25 years, almost all the launches were for the same basic purposes - to launch a satellite, such as a telecommunications satellite, to orbit - and that level of business for that part of the industry is continuing today. But there are several new segments that we see just on the horizon," George Nield, associate administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation, told the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics.

Commercial tourism flights expect to reach an altitude of 62 miles above the planet’s surface, exposing passengers to a brief period of weightlessness and a view of the curvature of the Earth against the vastness of space. Virgin Galactic has already collected $60 million in deposits; rides on the space line cost $200,000 per person.

Read the Reuters story here.