Touring the rapidly changing non-NASA community, Belfiore reports on the technology and business plans behind dreams of privately financed access to space. He profiles several companies active in this arena, including one that will be familiar to the news-following public, Scaled Composites. It launched an astronaut into space for a few minutes in 2004, inspiring enthusiasts and attracting paying customers. Just what customers will pay for seems speculativea brief experience of weightlessness, a vacation in an orbital hotel, a voyage to the moonso these companies are accordingly varied in their ambitions. Goals seem directly related to those of the company founders, and Belfiore's strong biographical sketches explain the founders' fascination with spaceflight, their rocketry skills (which range from accomplished to, in the case of mogul Richard Branson, nonexistent), and the hands-on work of their employees. Imparting the technical specs of engines and vehicles, Belfiore betters description with his evocation of the visionary euphoria that animates these entrepreneurial daredevils, sealing the deal for fans of space futurism. Taylor, Gilbert
About the Author
The author of Rocketeers, Michael Belfiore has written about spaceflight and advanced technology for Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, New Scientist, Air & Space, Smithsonian, Financial Times, Wired.com, and other media outlets. He lives in Woodstock, New York.
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