Ticketed Passengers Only Aboard Soyuz ('TANSTAAFL' Says Roskosmos)
Russia's space agency Roskosmos announced that it would stop giving free rides to US astronauts beginning in 2006. US space shuttles have been grounded since February of 2003, when the shuttle Columbia burned up on re-entry.
(From Soyuz/ST rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan)
Roskosmos is hoping to expand its space tourism program; two people are currently under consideration for flights on a Russian space craft to the International Space Station. So far, two passengers have paid $20 million (US) for tourist trips to the ISS aboard Soyuz craft.
Passengers to distant celestial bodies in science fiction stories have long been used to fare-based space travel. In his 1953 novel Second Foundation, Isaac Asimov not only sells tickets to far-flung solar systems, but uses automatic ticket machines to boot:
And the voice that cut in on her was a thunderclap that iced the scream in
her throat into a voiceless slash.
"Look, miss," it said, irritably, "are you using the ticket machine or are
you just standing there?"
It was the first she realized that she was standing in front of a ticket
machine. You put a high denomination bill into the clipper which sank out
of sight. You pressed the button below your destination and a ticket came
out together with the correct change as determined by an electronic
scanning device that never made a mistake. It was a very ordinary thing and
there is no cause for anyone to stand before it for five minutes.
Arcadia plunged a two-hundred credit into the clipper, and was suddenly
aware of the button labeled "Trantor." Trantor, dead capital of the dead
Empire – the planet on which she was born. She pressed it in a dream.
Nothing happened, except that the red letters flicked on and off, reading
172.18– 172.18– 172.18–
It was the amount she was short. Another two-hundred credit. The ticket was
spit out towards her. It came loose when she touched it, and the change
tumbled out afterward.
(Read more about Asimov's automatic ticket machine)
In The Fountains of Paradise, Arthur C. Clarke even pointed to cheaper ticket prices being an advantage of the space elevator:
In addition to avoiding the danger, noise and environmental hazards of
rocketry, the space elevator would make possible quite astonishing reductions in
the cost of all space missions. Electricity is cheap, and it would require only
about a hundred dollars' worth to take one person to orbit. And the round trip
would cost about ten dollars, as most of the energy would be recovered on the
downward journey! (Of course, catering and inflight movies would put up the
price of the ticket. Would you believe a thousand dollars to CEO and back?)
The head of Roskosmos, Anatoly Perminov, stated that a barter system would also be acceptable. Read more at Russia to end free space rides for US Astronauts.
And 'TANSTAAFL?' Stands for there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. And appropriately, it's explained in Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by a Russian character. Read more at TANSTAAFL.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/4/2005)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Fiorello Bodoni, you inspire all of us.
Used Dragon Cargo Spacecraft Will Fly Again
'the overstrained meters made the smaller craft skittish as a young horse...' - Robert Heinlein
Laser-Powered Spacecraft To Explore The Solar System
'Whoever launched it fired a laser cannon... for about forty-five years, so the intruder would have a beam to travel on...'- Niven/Pournelle, 1974.
SKYLON Space Plane Gets Boost
'They were more airplane than spaceship...'- Robert Heinlein, 1951.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Wound Healing With Wearable Nanogenerators
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to ... erase the other internal-external damage.'
Flying Dragon Robot Transforms In Mid-Air
Terrific prototype video.
Negative Matter Fluid Theorized In New Paper
'Of course, being negative matter, when you push it, it comes toward you..'
Grow Structures Upon Planetfall - Myco-Architecture
'They'll also start pulling in gases and liquids from the local atmosphere...'
MXene Hydrogel Skin For Robots Flexes And Senses
'The plastex swam and whirled like boiling toothpaste...'
EXPLORER, The First Total-Body Scanner
'The object is built up of an infinite series of plane layers, at the focus of the ray...'
UK Police AI To Stop Criminals Before They Strike
'... the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.'
Sonitus Audio Interface Positioned Beyond The Noise
'... an instrument having relatively small bit pieces adapted to be gripped between the teeth.'
Volvo's Self-Driving Mining Trucks
'A procession of automatic ore carts was racing over the bleak slag'
Audi Pop.Up Autonomous Electric Flying Car
'The cab was an egg-shaped bubble of light metals and plastics...'
Music Not Impossible (MNI) Vibrotactile Wearable Experience
Don't you want to experience the 'feely' effects?
Chinese Face Recognition Mistakes Bus Ad For Jaywalker
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'
A Look Back At Apollo's Emergency Escape Vehicle
'A simple mechanism... it drove the iron ball through space like a ship.'
InMotion Glide 3 Electric Unicycle For The Last Mile
'...gyro-stabilized on a single wheel.'
China's Social Credit System - A Facebook-1984 Mashup
'Prestige, face, mana, repute, glory: the Sirenese word is strakh.'
Musk Declares Tesla Supercharger Capacity Will Double By Next Year
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories