Virgin Galactic, who have been trying their damndest to make consumer space flight ‘a thing’ for the past decade, will not be selling tickets to Chinese nationals because they’re all commie spies.
Virgin will be losing out on a hugely important demographic, of course: the Chinese space-obsessed nouveau riche with a penchant for dropping $250,000 on tickets for a perpetually delayed, potentially vaporware, billionaire’s pipe-dream.
The anti-Chinese sentiment apparently derives from draconian American laws and, “strict anti-espionage regulations introduced during the Cold War.” The laws classify Virgin Galactic’s rocket technology as “potential military technology,” and thereby bar citizens of certain countries from having too close a look.
Disappointed Chinese billionaires may not be alone, though. As the Independent reports, there’s a distinct possibility that nationals of any country (even happy capitalist ones) may never get to fly on Mr. Branson’s magical space bus:
“Virgin Galactic is in danger of turning into a white elephant,” Bower told The Sunday Times, adding that so far the company has “only managed to fire a primitive rocket for 20 seconds in the Earth’s atmosphere” whilst rivals such as PayPal-founder Elon Musk have already sent manned rockets into orbit.
Dates for Galactic’s first flight have been missed repeatedly since the company was founded in 2004, with an original target of 2007 successively dropped to 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and then 2013. The current target is for a flight to take place this year.
If the United States is suddenly flooded with Green Card applications that look like sign-ups for space camp, we can thank Virgin Galactic.
[Image via Virgin Galactic]