To Boldly Go… for a Price

Ellison Enterprises is set to make commercial spaceflight a reality

by Paul Kirk | Millennium City Gazette

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the first manned lunar mission, during which three Apollo 8 astronauts orbited the moon and gave the U.S. a decisive lead in its space race against the Soviet Union. These days, with NASA’s milestones receding in the national memory, Russian spaceships are the ones ferrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS). If all goes well, that will soon change.

NASA is counting on commercial efforts to succeed. Even unmanned tests of spaceships “would be a major milestone in getting the U.S. back into launching its own astronauts into space,” says Douglas Messier, managing editor of Parabolic Arc, a commercial-space blog. NASA hasn’t had that capability since it retired the Space Shuttle in 2011.

At the moment, a handful of companies including The Boeing Company and Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corporation have spent billions of dollars and countless man hours working toward commercial spaceflight. Yet it is upstart Ellison Enterprises, owned by Millennium City whiz kid Niles Ellison, that is about to boldly go where NASA used to go.

The_Destiny
Artist’s interpretation of The Destiny in orbit

The maiden voyage of The E.E. Destiny will depart Earth from Vandenberg Air Force Base on December 24. Ellison’s spaceship is the latest in a long line of innovations in space technology the sixteen-year-old prodigy has made over an astonishing career which already spans a decade. It has been rumored that Ellison Enterprises also expect to begin construction of a lunar station in the new year though Ellison has declined to comment.

The Destiny will have a crew compliment of twelve and carry eighty-nine passengers, who were all personally invited by sixteen-year-old Ellison. The passenger manifest reads like an eclectic shopping list of the world’s most talented, most influential and most beautiful people including Hollywood heartthrob George Roundy, acclaimed Russian astrophysicist Piotr Apostolov, best-selling British novelist Cassandra Hastings and Canadian singer-songwriter Pennie.

The entire flight will be broadcast around the world and promises to be the hottest party in history. After the Destiny’s inaugural flight, Ellison says The Destiny will make monthly moon-orbiting flybys beginning in January. Sources in Ellison Enterprises have confirmed that tickets for the first cruise are already sold out. The company won’t say how much the tickets cost but the price is likely to be far more than the $40 million the last private astronaut, Canadian billionaire Guy Laliberté, paid the Russians to reach the ISS almost a decade ago.

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