Lawmakers Seek Money For Space Tourism Travel - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Lawmakers Seek Money For Space Tourism Travel

By Beth Hillyer

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Here's a far out idea. A really far out idea That's getting some attention from Hawaii's top leaders. Backers believe it will take Hawaii tourism to new heights; literally. In a few years you could travel into space, from commercial spaceports at Honolulu and Kona international airports. Unless you're an astronaut there are not many opportunities to travel into space.

"Hawaii being situated in middle of the pacific is a natural location to launch and land the new generation of space technology called space planes," explains State Aerospace Development Director Jim Crisafulli.

These small jets take off from airports, unlike space shuttles that need a launch pad.

They fire their rockets at 30 thousand feet. Tourists here may have a chance at a window seat on a spaceflight.

"Rocketplane is very interested in Hawaii due to it's geographic location, it's halfway between continental US and Asia Pacific region and it's a logical place for tourists."

What would space travelers get for two hundred grand?

"Travelling up to 62 miles above the surface of the earth and from which you can see approximately one third of the globe. As you travel between here and Japan in approximately 45 minutes."

Lawmakers are asking for half a million dollars to apply for a spaceport license.

"This money would go to the office of Aerospace development within DBEDT they would be tasked with putting together an application that would go to the FAA and request that Hawaii is designated one of these commercial spaceports, " comments Sen. Will Espero.

"Rocketplane would like to have it's first initial launch form Hawaii on New Year's Eve between 2010 and 2011 to take tourists and Hawaii residents to space and back," forecasts Crisafulli.

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