Yesterday’s issue of The Globe and Mail, a national Canadian newspaper, profiles businessman John Criswick, one of four Canadians who have signed up with Virgin Galactic for suborbital spaceflights. Criswick, the CEO of a mobile software company, has had a long interest in space, and even applied to join the Canadian astronauts corps but didn’t make the cut because, as he put it, “I didn’t have enough PhDs.” “I’m not excited because it’s so far away,” he added. But I’m sure two or three months before [the trip] my level of anxiety and excitement is definitely going to change.”
Meanwhile, an Indian television network, UTV, has announced a contest with a suborbital spaceflight as the top prize. The contest is tied to the launch of a youth-themed channel, Bindass (which presumably doesn’t sound quite so bad in Hindi as opposed to English); the winner will get a flight on Rocketplane’s XP vehicle at some future date. According to the PTI article, the contest is described as “a search for India’s first space tourist”, although one Indian has already claimed that feat as one of Virgin Galactic’s first 100 “Founders”. According to another report, the CEO of the new channel, Zarina Mehta, said, “The idea of presenting the youth with a chance to travel into space is a truly ‘Bindass’ thing to do.” Um, if you say so.