[FPSPACE] Ticket prices; X prizes

Keith Gottschalk kgottschalk at uwc.ac.za
Sat Oct 2 05:28:22 EDT 2004


Ticket prices; X prizes

     One development appears to have passed without comment, even without =
notice, by the hard-headed participants of FPSPACE.

	The first SpaceShipOne flight was followed by  several announcement=
s and predictions that the tickets to 100 kms up would be =93between $30 =
000 - $ 50 000=94. If I remember those emails here correctly.  By =
SpaceShipOne=92s 2nd flight, commerciaization is taken over by Richard =
Branson & Virgin =93Galactic=94,  which announces that ticket prices will =
be UK stlg.=96 100 000. The latest email rounds this up to $200 000.  No =
one has claimed that this will be the last price hike before an actual =
ticket is sold.

	That is, before anyone has bought a ticket, the price has rocketed =
up, ascended to between quadruple to sevenfold. The Objectivist Centre =
editorial indicates they do political preaching, not calculating if a line =
of business can be run at a profit or loss. Perhaps someone else can =
answer the question: what is the impact on your number of potential =
customers per year when you increase prices by at least 700%? Is the =
trade-off between more profits per customer versus less customers optimal?

	From a question to a reflection. Everyone  makes the connection =
between the X prize and the prize Lindburgh won. But Lindburgh=92s =
aircraft was never scaled up to become a passenger airliner.  I do not =
know  if the company that built it ever became serious players in the =
airliner industry.

	The first scheduled transoceanic airline services in fact came =
from a completely different origin, and over a different ocean. Aviation =
historians will have to fine-tune me here, but was it not Pan-American =
clippers over the Pacific routes that were first?  And I think it was =
British Imperial Airways using flying-boats that on or before August 1938 =
started Ireland-Newfoundland passenger flights.

	All of us, from me to the Objectivist editorialists, think X =
prizes, and any future analogies, are a good thing. But it seems a good =
thing in the same sense as the Tito & Shuttleworth flights, or the =
Houston-ISS wedding by proxy. It is at the level of intangibles, which =
shift the perceptions of potential consumers, innovators and investors, =
that some new development is not crazy but the wave of the future.

 	So there may not be a direct line between Scaled Composite=92s =
design, and the actual spacecraft that will take paying passengers on =
scheduled services.

Keith



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