If You Had Wings


Reuters runs a mostly optimistic batch of speculations about the future of flight in the Amazing World of Tomorrow, hooked to the Wright Brothers centennial. An excerpt:

Space tourism is around the corner, says Peter Diamandis, an aviation visionary who created the X-Prize, a $10 million bounty offered in 1996 for the first people to privately build and launch a spaceship capable of carrying three people to a 60 mile altitude, bring them back safely and repeat the launch, with the same craft, within two weeks.

Two dozen teams are competing for the X-Prize and Diamandis believes it will be won next year, bringing a "paradigm shift" in the way people view space flight, now the exclusive domain of governments with multibillion-dollar budgets. He sees regular sub-orbital commercial flights by 2013.

"We're on the verge of what you might call the golden age of space flight, where it will be possible for the general public to fly into space on a routine basis," he said.

I vaguely remember being promised all this back at the 1939 World's Fair or even in a late '20s issue of Air Wonder Stories, but it is good to know it is still all on its way. (And I am sincerely certain, and fabulously pleased, that it is.)