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    Rocket Scientist Or Supervillian?
    By Project Calliope | June 22nd 2010 07:13 PM | 2 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Project

    Alex "Sandy" Antunes is the mastermind behind 'Project Calliope', a pico-satellite funded by Science 2.0 and being launched in 2011 by a mad scientist...

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    Which is cooler: "I run a rocket company" or "This is my secret remote tropic island spaceport"?

    In A Spaceport of Her Own, I interview Randa Milliron about InterOrbital System's code-named "Tonga Spaceport".  Because, you know, it's a spaceport... in Tonga.  Setting up a private rocket site in the remote Tropics sounds like a movie supervillain plan, but Randa Milliron of InterOrbital Systems (InterOrbital.com) explains why it's the best way to get us to orbit and beyond.

    These are the folks launching our Project Calliope satellite, and this is the very spaceport it will launch from!  So listen to the podcast, then read more.  Or read more, then listen to the podcast

    Okay, I lied.  The writing below?  It isn't "more", it's a subset of the transcript.  See, if you went to the above podcast links, you'd have seen the entire transcript, giving you your choice to either listen to it, or just simply read it.  But here, I'm just giving an excerpt on the tiniest bit.

    I'm only talking about the spaceport-- not Randa's response to pick-up lines in bars, or how they plan to get to Titan.

    [Sandy] I'm told that the biggest advantage of ocean launch is, without any industry or people to worry about damaging...
    [Randa] Exactly. It makes your problem simpler. It's very popular...
    [Sandy] Well, fundamental risk is lower, it's not just the insurance impression on it.
    [Randa] Yes, that's exactly right, no population centers no big infrastructures.
    [Sandy] I just don't want to seem like we're preying on the third world here. The risks are genuinely lower, it's not that they don't charge for it.
    [Randa] That's not even the case. We like the idea of also having a spaceport in a resort, and for us something exotic in the South Pacific is very very exciting. Our kind of a tag line on that is, "from paradise to outer space".
    [Sandy] So you mentioned the resort, if I want to head on out for the first TubeSat launch, are you folks going to be able to help me make the hotel bookings then?
    [Randa] (laughs) I'll tell you that it's a remote area, so be prepared to rough it!

    Or perhaps not so rough, if this picture can be believed?

    Spaceport of the Future c. 1957   |   James R. Powers, courtesy of Plan59.com   

    Every Tuesday here at The Satellite Diaries , Fridays at the Daytime Astronomer

    p.s. For more vintage SF art, visit the darkroastedblend collection


    Funny how superheroes are so closely linked to science. Thanks for this. On our blog we are also covering a statistic stereotype that male scientists make forty percent more money than female scientists. Would be interesting to hear your comments. http://cbt20.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/biotechnology-news-37/

    Hi Roxanna, Read your blog. Likeliest reason I've heard for lower salaries is females assume the initial salary offer is fair (a team-centric view), rather than seeing it as the low bid in confrontative gameplay (an adversarial stance). I've fallen into that trap myself. And to connect with superheroes, look up 'women in refrigerators' some time for unequal 'depowering/power ups' of male vs female superhero characters. You could say 'male superheroes recover from negative incidents with a 40% higher power-up than female heroes' :) Alex