For every problem, there is almost always a free-market solution
Science, perhaps even more than tourism, could turn out to be big business for Virgin and other companies that are aiming to provide short rides above the 62-mile altitude that marks the official entry into outer space, eventually on a daily basis.
A $200,000 ticket is prohibitively expensive except for a small slice of the wealthy, but compared with the millions of dollars that government agencies like NASA typically spend to get experiments into space, “it’s revolutionary,” said S. Alan Stern, an associate vice president of the Southwest Research Institute’s space sciences and engineering division in Boulder, Colo.
I think it has escaped the general consciousness that up until the last one hundred years or so scientific research was privately funded. It looks like technical advancements combined with economic forces are driving research back in that direction, however slowly. Personally, I couldn’t be happier about that, because private funding disengages science from whatever government orthodoxy happens to be in place at the moment*.
[* Full disclosure: I have benefited from federal research grants.]