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More to space tourism than Spaceport

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By Sherry Robinson

Virgin Galactic now has 610 paying customers and has banked $70 million in deposits, but most of us will probably never be among the first tourists departing from Spaceport America. But it’s entirely possible that we’ll join the throngs already visiting the Spaceport, or even wander into the two planned visitor centers.
We can enjoy more down-to-earth space tourism.
But first, a look at the science taking off from the spaceport.
UP Aerospace recently launched a rocket for NASA, which landed at White Sands Missile Range. Called SpaceLoft, the rocket carried seven payloads with scientific experiments designed by NASA and other agencies, as well as private industry, plus experiments from New Mexico students. The company, which has had six other launches at the Spaceport, has a $4.7 million contract to do seven more of these flights under NASA’s new program to shift space exploration to private industry with the end of the shuttle program.
Also aboard SpaceLoft were the ashes of the deceased who wanted a space burial, and Celestis Inc. is happy to accommodate those wishes. One of those paying customers was the late mayor of Hatch, Judd Nordyke, who was a longtime spaceport supporter.


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