The main source of excitement at this year's conference was space tourism—folks in the industry prefer the term "personal spaceflight"—involving many companies, from the well-known (Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic) to the sort-of-known (Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin) to the comparatively obscure (XCOR Aerospace). Just this week it was announced that Google co-founder Sergey Brin plans to be a space tourist on a flight to the international space station in 2011. The space tourism business has, according to the results of a study presented at the conference, attracted over 1.2 billion dollars in investment, and grown its revenues from $175 million in 2006 to $268 million in 2007. That's peanuts compared to what NASA is spending on the Space Station or its Constellation project aimed at returning to the Moon, but it's real money and, unlike NASA's budget, it's growing.
Read the whole article: Not Your Father's Space Program