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Horizon: Space Tourists

Space Tourists Horizon meets the men who are attempting to sell us a return ticket to the stars. From eccentric entrepreneurs to billionaire business men like Richard Branson the race is on to turn space tourism into a reality. Virgin Galactic claims it will be the first company to take paying customers into space in about two years time. It's been tried before and always ended in failure, so how does Branson intend to do what the might of NASA never could - make space travel available to everyone? Since the 1960s, millions of people have been waiting to follow in the footsteps of the astronauts. As early as 1969, when Pan Am Airways started its 'moon flight club', there were indications that commercial space flight wasn't far off. But three decades and several false starts later, space remains the domain of professional astronauts. By 1996 space entrepreneur Peter Diamandis decided that if space tourism was ever going to get off the ground it would need a catalyst. So he established the XPrize; a $10 million dollar prize for the first commercial manned craft to get to sub orbit - 62 miles above the earth - twice in two weeks. The competition produced 26 entrants that ranged from a former real estate developer to a computer games millionaire and one of the world's most prolific aircraft designers. In the end the XPrize did produce a winner but it remains to be seen whether Virgin Galactic will really take its first paying customers to space in 2008.

Episode Info

Episode number: 42x11
Airdate: Thursday January 12th, 2006

Director: (Unknown)
Writer: (Unknown)

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Guest Stars
Richard BransonRichard Branson
As Himself
Warning: Horizon season 42 episode 11 guide may contain spoilers
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