Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ultimate Express Courier Service Now Possible

Boeing Launch Deliveries to the Final Frontier
Shipping News Feature

US - SPACE - This week saw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Boeing Company and Space Adventures Ltd. to cooperate on the marketing of anticipated transportation services to destinations in low Earth orbit (LEO) on Boeing commercial crew spacecraft. Earlier this year we told of a late delivery out there in the Cosmos and now it seems only a matter of time before someone offers some form of independent freight service outside the Earth’s atmosphere.

Despite luggage restrictions likely to be stricter than Ryan Air on a bad day, first cargoes are likely to include the ashes of dearly departed who wish to be disposed of as far from their earth bound relatives as possible.

Formed in 1998 Space Adventures have been at the forefront of privatising space exploration and are still the only company to have sent private individuals into orbit their clients having now run up a cumulative total of two months aboard the International Space Station. Headquartered in Vienna, Virginia the company offers a spectrum of programming that ranges from terrestrial weightless flights to orbital missions, flights to the edge of space, and a historic return to the Moon. Space Adventures' clients have spent over 2,000 hours in space, travelling over 35 million miles.

Under the new agreement, Space Adventures will market passenger seats on commercial flights aboard the Boeing Crew Space Transportation-100 (CST-100) spacecraft to LEO. Potential customers for excess seating capacity include private individuals, companies, non-governmental organizations, and U.S. federal agencies other than NASA. Boeing plans to use the CST-100 to provide crew transportation to the International Space Station and future commercial LEO platforms.

Don’t start your express delivery running sheet quite yet however. The CST-100 carries up to seven people and will be able to fly on multiple launch vehicles but is not expected to be operational until 2015. Boeing and Space Adventures have not yet set a price per seat for spaceflight participants, let alone a freight tariff, but travel, and commercial shipping, into space is becoming a reality driven by private enterprise.

Photo: Courtesy Space Adventures Ltd.