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Museum of Flight CEO: Seattle Will Help Innovate Space Tourism

Virgin Galactic, Mark Greenberg
AP Photo

Seattle may become the hub of space tourism, says Museum of Flight CEO Douglas King.

Companies have already sold rocket seats to space tourists for hundreds of thousands of dollars. That might seem like a lot of money, but King compares the novelty of space tourism to commercial airlines in the early twentieth century.

“So now we’re just at the very beginning of, ‘I could buy a ride?’ That’s what happened in the early 1930s when all of a sudden there was a massive competition to take people first across the country, and then across the ocean. And now we just take it for granted. That’s only 70 years ago” King said.

Much of the innovation that fuels space tourism will like come from Seattle and the same companies who pioneered in computers and aviation, said King.

“What will it be like when my grandson’s my age in about 2060? I think it’ll be just as common to go take a vacation on the moon. I can’t tell you exactly the pathway, but those same entrepreneurs and those same companies will make that happen,” he said.

King moderated a panel to talk about the future of commercial space flight Monday at the Museum of Flight. Opportunities range from travel to exploration, to asteroid mining.

In addition to Virgin Galactic and the Space Angels Network, one of the local companies participating is Bellevue’s Planetary Resources.