Okay, is everyone cool?
SGTDan, I too apologise if I caused any offence, but you must understand that I am a Higgerant Limey Pinko Socialist Scum. I have a rather raw sense of humour and I actually enjoy winding up Americans, because your sense of humour is as different to ours as your language!
In fact, I'm married to an American.
Blinkin is absolutely correct in his assessment: Basically I have designed a world in which NASA plays a small part, but is subordinated to commercial interests. If you personally cannot see this as a possible future, you are as entitled to your opinion as I am.
I would like to point out, however, that ten years ago I was telling people that the next big thing to get into would be biotechnology, that before the end of the 21st century we would see cranial implants replace mobile phones and begin to replace computers, we would see limb regrowth, human cloning and genetic embryo tailoring, to name but a few advances. (Obviously I can't prove I said any of that, you'll just have to take my word. My wife will testify in court that I've been saying it as long as I've known her!)
This year, scientists unveiled the first truly bionic arm, controlled by a micro chip attached to the top of someone's head. This is
! This is no longer science fiction, it is science FACT! Cranial implants have arrived. The military will be the next people to see the benefit - if a disabled person can use that chip to control a replacement arm, can a pilot use it to fly an aeroplane?
From there the communications industry will see the potential, and by the end of this century I predict that the only people without chips in their heads will be over seventy years old.
My point being, I was right on that! It's already happening.
Sir Richard Branson has created a holding company called Virgin Galactic
. It is already developing a space plane and selling tickets for day trips into space.
The ten million dollar Ansari X prize
for getting the first privately funded space craft into orbit was won 8 years ago .
If you still don't believe that privately funded spaceflight is a goer, then I can't really help you.