In a cabinet reshuffle last week, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown selected Paul Drayson as its new science minister. Drayson, as I noted over on Space Politics, is a strong supporter of human spaceflight, and is clearly in favor of overturning a long-running ban on funding human spaceflight programs in the UK. In an interview with the BBC on Thursday, he discusses that as well as commercial space ventures. “We’re seeing the beginnings of the commercialization of space from the point of view of people like Virgin Galactic and others, exploiting the fact that people are so excited about space they’re prepared to pay to go,” he said.
Drayson, the BBC noted, fits the profile of a potential space tourist himself: he’s a race car driver and a successful businessman with an estimated net worth well over $100 million. Would he go himself?
BBC: Are you going to purchase a Branson ticket?
Drayson: Ah, I haven’t done [that], but I do think it’s a really exciting time.
BBC: You fit his customer profile.
Drayson: I do, do I.