The sub-orbital tourism industry may seem extravagant, but it’s following a similar path the airline industry started on more than 100 years ago. In 1913, flying in a plane — any plane — was more of an unsafe thrill ride available only to the few adventurers willing to risk life and limb. They were flying for the excitement of being at the leading edge of a dangerous new form of travel. By the 1920s and 1930s flying was safer, but it was mostly a luxury reserved only for the wealthy. Fifty years later it had become a boring commodity sold at rock bottom prices to the masses. Space tourism will likely follow the same trajectory, only at a much steeper flight path.
We may be too cheap to fly faster, but we’re not too cheap to fly a lot higher. And in the end the desire of a few to fly higher, may help those wanting to fly faster.