Carribbean Island to Offer Rides Into Space – (note: that’s their typo, not mine!)

XCOR Aerospace is teaming up with the southern Caribbean island of Curacao to develop a space port for future suborbital tourist and scientific flights. The agreement is with the territorial government of Curacao and a group of Dutch investors with the hopes of offering flights in 2014.

The joint venture is known as Space Experience Curacao, or SXC. The group will lease one of XCOR’s Lynx spacecraft. The Lynx is a small two-seat spacecraft (pictured above) designed to launch to more than 100 kilometers (about 328,000 feet).

The pilot and passenger would experience weightlessness at the apex of the flight. And from that altitude they will be surrounded by the darkness of space and see the curvature of the earth with the sandy beaches and turquoise waters of Curacao 62 miles below.

The cost of a single ride is expected to be $98,000.

I’ve been wondering why it’s taken so long for a small nation to try something like this. You’ve got an isolated landmass, limited international treaty recognition, and not much else. They’ve got billions of dollars of investment money to try out some crazy tech idea. Why don’t you two get together and party like mad scientist from 1967?

Now, commercial space launches are nothing new. All sorts of developing nations partner with telecom companies to put communication satellites in orbit, but this is the first time I’ve seen such a small country partner with such a big idea.

My hope is that it leads to a hole in the dam. Maybe make some small nation realize they’ve got nothing to lose by taking partnerships like this even farther. Make protected enclaves for gray-market tech research.

Feel like studying human cloning for organ harvesting? C’mon down to Nauru! Want to develop new wireless technologies but don’t want to bother with all of those government licensing restrictions? The Marshall Islands are here for you! Want to offer quick turn around experimental medical treatments in FDA-free research environment? Tuvalu has everything you need, and miles of tropical beaches!

I’m being a bit hyperbolic here, but I’ve always wondered why a small island nation never just went and gave the rest of the world the finger then threw their doors open to bleeding edge, morally ambiguous research. I mean, in a lot of ways, it is their right. We’re causing the ocean levels to rise, fucking them over, so why should they give us any mind?