The Latest Space Tourism News : Cheap Budget Flights from Ryanair
The Latest Space Tourism News :
Cheap Budget Flights from Ryanair
Advances in the possibilities of Space Tourism for ordinary, everyday multi-millionaires has excited the community of the space industry.
Since the launch of the 21st Century there have been major developments in research and technology into making space flights purely for leisure.
Could this be a new golden age in space travel entering into the orbit of science fiction? Fantasy could soon become reality if recent news portends the near future.
The most prominent figure in these exciting developments has been the innovative English billionaire Sir Richard Branson.
A long-time entrepreneur of immense energy, resources and facial hair he has applied his talents to creative approaches to business and adventure.
From speedboats across the Atlantic to hot-air balloons over the continents he has boldly gone to break new boundaries.
Never more so than with his new venture of the 'Virgin Galactic' spacecraft which has been undergoing exciting tests and trials in flight.
However the going rate for a ticket for these sub-orbital flights will be around $200,000. Obviously this is far beyond the reach of the vast majority of earth-dwellers and even some in the banking sector
But today the Irish budget airline Ryanair have announced ambitious plans to offer a service to ordinary working folk around the world and take them literally around the world. Even perhaps beyond.
They claim cheap flights are possible using their trademark 'no frills' approach to organising, marketing and consumer preferences.
We spoke with the Head Communications Executive Seamus Flaherty about their new initiative. Here is an exclusive interview with Flaherty by our Special Aviation Correspondent Francis Trudge.
Trudge: This quite an astonishing announcement Mr Flaherty. People must be wondering how you can possibly makes this work and more crucially make this pay.
Flaherty: Well they don't reckon with the ingenuity and spirit of Ryanair. We're always coming up with amazing ideas.
Trudge: Quite so but if you don't mind me asking how are you literally going to get this off the ground. What kind of craft will you use, how will you launch and how can you avoid the massive costs normally associated with space travel?
Flaherty: It's not as hard as you think you know. We're using old aeroplanes bought off of Nicaraguan Airlines and we've specially adapted them for space flight.
Trudge: How so?
Flaherty: We've taken out all the seats.
Flaherty: Oh yeah! We was planning to do that with short-haul flights in the UK anyway so it's just an extension of the same idea. But in zero gravity you don't need seats and we thought it would be a whole lot of fun for folks to float around when they get up there. Helps them mix and get to know each other better. We're just waiting on the entertainment licence.
Trudge: Do you anticipate any difficulties with this?
Flaherty: Well yeah! The scratch-cards is gonna be difficult. All those tiny wee silver flakes floating around. Could be tricky but we're working on it.
Trudge: But what about the burn-out factor in the atmosphere?
Flaherty: Well no-one likes a party more than me but we'll make sure they don't get too carried away.
Trudge: No!! I mean the intense heat of going through the ozone. How will you protect your craft?
Flaherty: Ohhh! I see what you mean. No worries about that. Of course we'll adapt and customise the craft for space flight. We're gonna fit heat resistant panels and then dip the planes in borax.
Flaherty: Not only that but we gotta deal with the Vatican on that score,
Trudge: The Vatican?
Flaherty: Yep! The dear old Pope, God bless his silvery hair, has given us a contract on some decommissioned chapels. We can strip the lead from their roofs and use them for the nose-cones. Not too much of course. It's heavy shit you know. But a bit of extra protection against radiation and stuff.
Trudge: That's all very well but just how are you going to get them up there in the first place?
Flaherty: Like most business these days we're going into partnership with the Chinese. They'll help us get those old crates into the air and smash through that ozone layer you know.
Trudge: Exactly how?
Flaherty: It's quite simple when you think of it. We're just gonna piggy-back onto some of them there Oriental rockets.
Trudge: And what are the technical requirements of this?
Flaherty: We just gets a big chain and let the rocket yank the planes up into the air. With a big enough shackle we reckon we could throw them up three or four at a time.
Trudge: You can't be serious!
Flaherty: I'm deadly serious mate.
Trudge: It sounds incredible,
Flaherty: Believe me it'll work I tell ya!
Trudge: You seem extremely confident
Flaherty: Absolutely! As long as the chain is long enough and tough enough to take the planes in a file and to avoid the flames.
But we want them close enough to use some of that heat. That's another saving on the bills you see. Keeps the ticket price down.
Certainly it seems that Ryanair have not lost that sense of purpose and imagination that has kept them ahead of the pack.
But controversy and debate always seem to follow in the wake of their announcements and this time is no different. It seems that not everyone is convinced and the old criticisms have been retread once again.
Trudge: China seems a long way away for much of your traditional customers base. Aren't you afraid of losing them?
Flaherty: Not at all. Let's face it. We've done worse and left passengers stranded in the middle of nowhere. But they always keep coming back. They may be daft and poor but they love us all the same.
Trudge: That may be so but will you not be launching nearer to home?
Flaherty: That's the plan. Once we get some cash from the Chinese we can negotiate with other great space powers like the USA, Russia and Lichtenstein.
Flaherty: Yeah! To be sure they're still in the early stages with the technology and that but they got a great tax rate so it's worth a punt. But we haven't forgot about the Irish. We're hoping to start a 'Heavens Above' service with land bought from the local priests over in Killarney.
Trudge: The Catholic Church is certainly very good to you.
Flaherty: Indeed they are. They ain't so keen on us dealing with the old Communist Utopia thing but those guys know a good bit of business when they see it.
Trudge: Nevertheless we hear that a similar furore to the controversial issue of Ryanair using remote airfields has arisen again.
Flaherty: Ah ha! You're talking about our 'Free Flight' offers.
Trudge: But instead of using satellite airfields you'll be using real satellites.
Flaherty: That's not true exactly. They're space stations you know. Of course they're not really free flights as such, more like 'Penny Deals' since we're not allowed to give them away. But yes! We're launching bargain basement flights almost for nothing as it were.
Trudge: Yes! But the passengers have to make their own way to the stations to catch their flights. Rather tricky wouldn't you say? Not exactly 'Beam me up Scotty' is it?
Flaherty: Well that's not for me to comment on you know. We're not responsible for local transport issues to and from our space stations.
Trudge: Oh come on now!
Flaherty: No, No, No! This is something we always get criticised for. You always hear ungrateful people moaning about the distance to their airport. You know the kind of thing? It's all "Sixty miles to Frankfurt" this and "Forty miles to Paris" that. We just can't win.
Trudge: But surely this is much different.
Flaherty: That's right! With a good timetable these orbiting stations are never more than two hundred miles away from your home town. Now! When you consider the vastness and infinite wonder of God's own universe an'all, that's pretty damned impressive is it not?
Trudge: Put that way I suppose it may be Mr Flaherty. Well! That's all we have time for just now. So thank you and good wishes on your quest for the new frontier.
Flaherty: No problem my friend, the Irish diaspora is still on the move and spreading out. We'll be selling low-gravity Guinness on the Moon afore long. Just depends on how it pours. Slainte!
Thank you Francis Trudge for that revealing interview.
And so it seems nothing can diminish the enthusiasm of the Ryanair organisation on this new venture.
Perhaps their most challenging enterprise yet in its short but colourful history.
Will it a be case of the famous 'Wild Geese' flying further than ever before and going beyond the clouds.
Or will their goose be cooked before they get off the ground? All will be revealed in the fullness of time.
Perhaps they will bring their passengers closer to God? For their sake, we hope not. But keeping looking at the skies over Ireland and sing 'The Irish Rover'.
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