The National Space Society vision is people living and working in space

March 30, 2004

For More Information:
George Whitesides
Executive Director
(202) 429-1600


Announcement demonstrates public desire for spaceflight and underscores key role commercial activity can play in supporting national exploration goals

WASHINGTON, D.C. National Space Society Executive Director George Whitesides issued the following statement following the announcement on March 29th by Space Adventures that Dr. Gregory Olsen will be the next 'private space explorer' to ride a Soyuz spacecraft into orbit.

"NSS members welcome the continuing support of space tourism by the Russian government and Space Adventures. As a private space flight passenger, Dr. Olsen continues in the tradition of technically knowledgeable entrepreneurs like Dennis Tito and Mark Shuttleworth.

Private space explorers like Dr. Olsen are making a significant contribution to the space program, both financially and scientifically. They bring much needed funds to the Russian government at a time when the US and others are constrained in their ability to help. Dr. Olsen's bold decision also demonstrates the strong level of interest in public space travel. "We commend Dr. Olsen's pledge to promote spaceflight via school appearances after his return from space. Continuing development of space technology in all countries will bring down the cost of human spaceflight, so that more people can experience it firsthand.

Finally, we note that Dr. Olsen is currently planning to launch in April 2005 onboard a Soyuz rocket. We note with excitement that the next private citizens to go to space may well be before this, with the expected suborbital launch of X PRIZE competitors later this year. The growing number of private space tourism opportunities heralds the arrival of a new age of space travel."

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The National Space Society (NSS) is an independent, international, grassroots organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. NSS has more than 22,000 members and 50 chapters in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Germany, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Founded in 1974, NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space.

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