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(Jon sez:)

Your Writer: Jon Kilgannon Did someone order a huge freakin' warship surrounded by a subfleet of quasi-sentient interceptor craft? 'Cause there's one in orbit. It says you owe one godzillion dollars* for it, plus delivery fees.

* They also accept rubles, yen, pounds, euros, and the giant stone coins of the Yap Islands. No checks.

(Mark sez:)

Your Artist: Mark Sachs Today SpaceShipOne is scheduled to launch from the Mojave Desert in its bid for the X-Prize. To win, a privately built spacecraft must be launched, turned around, and launched again within two weeks, carrying a pilot and enough weight to represent two passengers. The idea of anyone turning around a spacecraft in two weeks, never mind a private company doing it, would have seemed hilarious not so long ago, considering the Space Shuttle takes untold months and nobody else (with the dubious exception of the Soviet Buran) ever even tried. Now it doesn't seem so absurd after all. Fingers crossed, everybody, particularily considering that if all goes well this appears to be the next step.