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大众太空旅游要来了

Peter Elkind 2013年01月23日

美国一家商业航空公司的目标就是打造太空版的西南航空,把太空旅行变成司空见惯的旅游项目,让人们都能体验失重的奇妙感受。难道大众太空旅行时代真的要到来了吗?

    “西南航空公司在其发展初期的精彩手笔乃是其商业模式——即认识到那些昂贵的资本资产(客机)停在地面上时赚不到一分钱。XCOR公司现在所做的事情也是根据那种理念。一旦把这个观念推广到火箭飞船的运作,所有人都能理解那是怎么一回事。如果你能够在一天时间内驾驶那些飞船升空4次,成本就会降下来。”

    尽管亚轨道的游客会经历约5分钟的失重状态,但希尔福斯认为地图的景象是一种“深刻得多的”体验。“你看到的图景会烙印在自己的大脑当中。对我来说,那是改变人生的体验,大多数亚轨道游客也将有相同的体验。”

    最后,XCOR公司希望拥有一支在全球范围内运营的“山猫号”飞船舰队,提供很多不同的太空视角。公司的管理团队正考虑销售一种“六大洲通行证”。

    “亚轨道旅游就要来了,”希尔福斯说。“它不再是世外桃源,也不再是太空梦想者的梦想,它真的要来了。”据希尔福斯称,XCOR公司的高管已经开始设想太空旅游变得司空见惯的那一天。XCOR公司首席工程师丹•德隆放言:“我想在月球上退休!”而公司首席执行官杰夫•格雷森则说:“我想在火星上退休!”

    “伙计们,”希尔福斯称自己当时告诉这两位:“你们俩都疯了,我想在德哈查比退休。我一周只想飞到太空三到四次。”(财富中文网)

    译者:王灿均

    "The brilliant thing Southwest Airlines did in the early days was their business model—the recognition that those expensive capital assets aren't making a penny sitting on the ground. Those kinds of philosophies are what XCOR is doing. That's stuff no one's thought about when it comes to rocket operations. If you're able to fly one of these vehicles four times a day, that just drives the cost way down."

    While suborbital tourists will experience about five minutes of weightlessness, Searfoss found the view of earth a "much more profound" experience. "The images that are seared into the brain that you see—that's the life-changing experience for me. That's going to be the case for most people who do the suborbital thing."

    Ultimately, XCOR hopes to have a fleet of Lynxes operating around the world, with each offering a vastly different vantage point from space. Its management team muses about selling a "six-continent pass."

    "It's coming," says Searfoss. "It's not just la-la land or space dreamers stuff. This is really coming." XCOR executives have already begun musing about the day when space travel is commonplace, according to Searfoss. "I want to retire on the moon!" says chief engineer Dan DeLong. "I want to retire on Mars!" says CEO Jeff Greason.

    "Guys," Searfoss says he's told them, "You're both crazy. I want to retire in Tehachapi. I just want to fly to space three or four times a week."

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