NASA official talks space tourism

NASA official talks space tourism
Charles Miller
Charles Miller

By Duane Shimogawa bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A top NASA official is here to discuss the possibility of space tourism in our islands.

Charles Miller is NASA's senior advisor for commercial space. This is his first time to Hawaii. He says it's the perfect place for space tourism.

With tourism in Hawaii already spaced out, relief may be launched in the form of a space ship.

Miller feels Hawaii has two key advantages. It's ideal location, which includes space-like landscapes and local experts already at Mauna Kea.

"There maybe a few spots in the world that match Hawaii for its natural advantages, but I can't think of a place that exceeds Hawaii and it's really how serious Hawaii is," Miller said.

As much as Miller loves the idea of coming to Hawaii. It wasn't its natural beauty or beaches, instead he was drawn to the islands because of a new law. It authorizes the state to spend half a million dollars to apply for a spaceport license from the federal government.

This is the first step toward allowing commercial space travel from the islands.

"The State has to finish getting a space port," he said. "I heard that costs half a million dollars, I know there's tough economic times in Hawaii, but the economic potential is huge, tens of hundreds of millions of dollars coming to Hawaii."

Within a decade, space travelers could island hop from Hawaii to Japan in 45 minutes. Promoters promise a unique perspective during the flight, which could cost about $200,000.

"This could be a trillion dollar industry and Hawaii could have a part of that, we're not talking little numbers here," Miller said. "There's a huge potential growth in the long-term that Hawaii could capture some of it."

Hawaii could become the eighth state granted a spaceport license. The process will take about three years. This means space flights wouldn't start earlier than 2012.