In a millennium where UFO conference speakers accuse President George W. Bush of taking pot shots at space aliens, the Empire sometimes strikes back.
Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic enterprise, which aims to launch people into space this decade, has an apollo 13, Houston-type problem: It's called the U.S. Federal aviation administration (Faa). The Faa has every intention of screening space tourists to ensure they are not terrorists.
With other Faa rules coming down the pike, it won't be so easy for space bound Hollywood starlets to hitch a ride into outer space for just the $190,000 it costs for the price of a ticket.
Like the rest of the globetrotting plebes, space tourists will face the boredom of waiting lines to undergo checks similar to those imposed on airline passengers.
This means you too, William Shatner. Star Trek was fantasy, but global terrorism is reality.
Canada, whose September 11, 2001 Prime Minister blamed the Westand the United States in particularfor the terrorist attacks, is being lobbied by a former Canadian Minister of Defence and a string of NGOs to protect space aliens against the military aggression of the U.S.
Back in November, Hellyer was worried that americans may drag the rest of the world into intergalactic warfare.
"The United States military are preparing weapons which could be used against the aliens and they could get us into an intergalactic war without us ever having any warning," Hellyer said.
It's 2006 and the Empire is striking back.
Not only will Faa agents be screening space tourists, but Faa is also suggesting that space tourism companies check the global "no-fly" list, from US Homeland Security Department, to exclude potential terrorists.
"New technologies carry new risks. Nonetheless, Congress recognizes that private industry has begun to develop commercial launch vehicles capable of carrying human beings into space, and greater private investment in these efforts will stimulate the nation's commercial space transportation industry as a whole," said the Faa report. (BBC News).
Virgin Galactic is a space travel venture founded by billionaire British airline and entertainment magnate Sir Richard Branson.
Some 7.5 million people have visited the Virgin Galactic homepage, and 3,500 of the 7.5 million who have visited the site said they are willing to pay a deposit as soon as flights are available.
The cost of the 2-hour flight, five minutes of which will be spent weightless hovering above the earth just like real astronauts get to do, is in the $190,000 range.
The first fare-paying space tourists will take off from the Mojave Desert in California.
David Bowie's classic song, Space Oddity has been chosen as the first track to be played on the first commercial space trip for tourists. The song, first released in 1969, came out tops in a poll to find the ultimate playlist for the trip.
But Faa has a somewhat less romantic version in mind for space adventurers.
"The public interest is served by creating a clear legal, regulatory and safety regime for commercial human spaceflight. (BBC News).
"Companies should give passengers safety advice including the number of flights the spacecraft has been on and any problems they have experienced with the craft, according to further recommendations in the report.
"Space tourists should also be given pre-flight training to handle emergency situations such as a loss of cabin pressure or fire."
Meanwhile, orbiting outer space can get you more than a front row seat on the galaxy.
Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at: [email protected]