Goal: To Fly to the Edge of Space
The Perlan Project, supported previously by pioneer Steve Fossett, before his untimely passing, and now supported by Airbus, is seeking to fly a glider to 90,000 feet. On the edge of space.
I want to include photos in this post, partially because photos are helpful, but more because I view this as quite exciting, but candidly, I’m not sure of the rights to those photos, so I have not. Instead, I’m including a video of course it is circa 2013, but it still shares the goal and vision:
Overall this probably doesn’t impact your day to day life, or mine, but its pretty exciting. We still haven’t explored space. In fact, albeit 4 years later, it’s interesting to read a review of the 2012 political candidates, P.J O’Rourke (one of the few political satirists I read) shares an interesting perspective. While I can’t find the particular video, from the 28th National Space Symposium that I attended, where P.J. O’Rourke did speak, he cited a figure, something like it costing $5-8k per kilogram for space launch. To quote the article I found that data on (vs. the speech):
At this price, sending your 110-pound daughter into orbit would cost $50,000, which is what you’d otherwise spend on a year of her majoring in Politico-Cultural Stereotype Studies at Swarthmore. (Source)
I think this sends a particular message, that being, We haven’t figured out an economical way to get people into space. The Perlan Glider Project has an opportunity to change that!
I have no skin in the game. Perhaps that’s something I need to change, but, I am excited to see private industry pushing the limits. Pushing toward better understanding not just our planet, but more than that. While John F. Kennedy set out that we would put a Man on the Moon in 1961, it really seems like we haven’t pushed a whole lot further since than.
Perhaps it is not ground breaking, but it is pretty darn cool that even Airbus CEO Tom Enders is pushing toward getting a glider up to 90,000 feet. Perhaps space travel isn’t all that far fetched. It kind’ve reminds me of the Bajoran Lightship from Star Trek Deep Space Nine.
What are your thoughts? Is an environmentally sustainable path to fly to the edge of space a big deal to you?