Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Fw: [ufotruthseekers] Sheboygan wants to be big cheese in space

Expand Messages
  • Linette Sukup
    Excellent plan. Peace. Linette ... From: Jenny To: jenny Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 5:40 PM Subject:
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2006
      Excellent plan.


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Jenny" <jenny328@...>
      To: "jenny" <jenny328@...>
      Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 5:40 PM
      Subject: [ufotruthseekers] Sheboygan wants to be big cheese in space


      Sheboygan wants to be big cheese in space
      Wisconsin town sets sights on strange new world of astro-tourism

      By Tim Jones
      Chicago Tribune national correspondent

      January 29, 2006

      SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- Some people, as Robert Kennedy often said, are
      content to look at the world and ask why.

      But in Sheboygan, where untold thousands of tons of sausage have been
      crammed into sheep casings, some yearn for a life beyond the smoky
      barbecue haze of the "Bratwurst Capital of the World." So they look to
      the heavens and ask why not?

      Why not make Sheboygan a launch pad to outer space?

      Why let the legendary Cape Canaveral be the nation's tourist magnet for
      most things space when Sheboygan could just as easily be the Midwest
      space research center and 21st Century catapult, hurling rockets and
      vaulting adventurous people into the wild black yonder?

      That's the plan Sheboygan officials envision. Build on an existing
      annual rocketry event on the western shore of Lake Michigan. Attract
      millions of the curious from surrounding states by converting a hulking
      World War II-vintage armory into a space research center and build a
      planetarium next door. And then, with an infusion of private and public
      money, cash in on the next new frontier--commercial tourism that would
      carry small groups of people in rocket jet vehicles for half-hour,
      quarter million-dollar, suborbital rides into space.

      It's tempting to dismiss "Spaceport Sheboygan," as it is called, as
      another hokey Wisconsin tourist gimmick in a state where communities
      boast of enormous plastic cows, a gigantic penny and the world's biggest
      fiberglass fish (143 feet long). Just about an hour north of here, in
      tiny Poland, a farmer last year turned a 42-foot-long fuel tank on its
      head and put a metal platform on top, making it the state's only "U.F.O.
      Landing Port."

      "We're Not the Only Ones," reads the sign beneath Poland's metal welcome
      mat for little green people from far away.

      Might not be so goofy

      Despite predictable jokes about sending brat-shaped, mustard-slathered
      rockets into space, the Sheboygan proposal might not be goofy at all. In
      fact, communities in Florida, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, California,
      Alaska and several other states are also vying for a piece of the
      evolving space tourism business, and they have assembled armies of
      lawyers, financiers, deep-pocketed CEOs and politicians to prime the
      galactic pump.

      Along Lake Michigan, Jim Testwuide, a local businessman involved in the
      Wisconsin proposal, said, "It's not just five sod-lifters from
      Sheboygan" with a big idea.

      "We feel it has legs to take off," Testwuide said.

      Here's why. Sheboygan has been firing small rockets into the
      atmosphere--some as high as 35 miles--for a decade, as part of the
      popular Rockets for Schools program. The area boasts a massive block of
      restricted airspace over Lake Michigan, granted by the government more
      than a half-century ago for military munitions testing. This
      over-the-water no-fly zone provides an ideal safety buffer for vertical
      rocket and horizontal jet plane space launches. The Federal Aviation
      Administration has already granted Sheboygan authorization for
      suborbital flights, and horizontal launches would fit neatly into the
      Sheboygan plan.

      "Nobody's talking about launching gigantic missiles off," Testwuide
      said, trying to dispel the image of a northern Cape Canaveral. "We're
      talking space planes, not rockets."

      Former astronauts, including James Lovell, have endorsed the Spaceport
      Sheboygan proposal. Plenty of area politicians have joined the why-not
      chorus. The Wisconsin Legislature is considering a measure ("out of this
      world," claimed the bill's sponsor) to create a state aerospace
      authority, which could sell up to $100 million in bonds to purchase
      yet-to-be-identified land and build a launch facility.

      Sheboygan is the only proposed Midwestern site, prompting Lovell to call
      it "a rare opportunity to create this compelling regional destination."

      Supporters downplay concerns about cold weather and emphasize that the
      tourist ventures would involve planes, not rockets, that take off from
      airport-like runways. At an altitude of about 35,000 feet, a rocket
      plane attached to the jet and carrying tourists would detach and zoom to
      an altitude of perhaps 60 miles. Then it would return for a landing at
      the launch site.

      In the broader context of old cities reinventing themselves--Pittsburgh
      moving from big steel to high-tech, and Raleigh, N.C., from textiles and
      tobacco to technology and education--Sheboygan is but one player on a
      long list of communities trying to plan for the future. By any measure,
      though, Spaceport Sheboygan is quite a leap, as it is for most other
      communities vying for the pole position in the risky and expensive
      commercial space race.

      But it's doable, supporters insist. And it is, they add, an imperative
      with a familiar ring to it. Just as the Soviets took the lead in the
      space race in the 1950s and early '60s, the Russians currently own the
      nascent market for space tourism.

      "There has been a pent-up demand for space for a long time," said George
      French, president of Rocketplane Ltd. Inc., an Oklahoma-based company
      that is building a reusable spaceship, similar to a private jet with a
      rocket attached.

      "The Baby Boomers who grew up on `2001: A Space Odyssey' expected that
      they would be able to fly [into space]. It isn't going to happen unless
      states and the private sector do something," French said.

      Some are moving faster than others. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush asked state
      lawmakers this month to commit $55 million in next year's budget to
      attract new space ventures to Florida. Bush is also pushing the
      development of a commercial spaceport, which would operate much like a
      commercial service airport.

      New Mexico last month committed to spending about $130 million--roughly
      half the cost of construction--to build a desert launch facility that
      would be used by British entrepreneur Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic
      airline. Sightseeing spaceflights from the site near the White Sands
      Missile Range are scheduled to begin in late 2008, although there is
      some political resistance to using state money for the launch site while
      the state has other demands.

      Groundbreaking next winter

      Sheboygan is not that far down the development road. The city plans a
      groundbreaking for the proposed space center next winter, with a
      targeted opening date of March 2008. Building a launch site for
      commercial space travel may be years down the road because private and
      public financing, public support and political will to endorse it are
      not assured.

      And the trips are, to say the least, pricey--anywhere from $200,000 to
      $350,000 for an adventure that lasts about as long as America's first
      astronaut in space, Alan Shepard, took for his inaugural suborbital leap
      in 1961.

      "It's absolutely feasible to have a spaceport anywhere there is interest
      and where economically it makes sense to do it," said Jim Banke, vice
      president of Florida operations for the Space Foundation, a Colorado
      Springs-based non-profit advocate for the space industry.

      "But it has to make economic sense," Banke said

      To which Testwuide says, why not?

      "We're going to bring Sheboygan out of the oompah band stage," he said.



      Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune <http://www.chicagotribune.com/>

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      No More Lies. No More Secrets. The Truth Is Out There.

      "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary
      evidence". Carl Sagan

      To visit this group on the web, go to:

      To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

      Yahoo! Groups Links

      No virus found in this incoming message.
      Checked by AVG Free Edition.
      Version: 7.1.375 / Virus Database: 267.14.25/246 - Release Date: 1/30/2006
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.