[FPSPACE] Ticket prices; X prizes

Chris Faranetta chris.faranetta at verizon.net
Sat Oct 2 09:57:07 EDT 2004

Lindburg charted the routes across the Pacific Ocean for those flying boats.
-----Original Message-----
From: "Keith Gottschalk" <kgottschalk at uwc.ac.za>
Date: Sat, 02 Oct 2004 11:28:22 
To:<fpspace at friends-partners.org>
Subject: [FPSPACE] Ticket prices;   X prizes

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 announcements and predictions that the tickets to 100 kms up would be “between $30 000 - $ 50 000”. If I remember those emails here correctly.  By SpaceShipOne’s 2nd flight, commerciaization is taken over by Richard Branson & Virgin “Galactic”,  which announces that ticket prices will be UK stlg.– 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’s 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’s design, and the actual spacecraft that will take paying passengers on scheduled services.


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