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NASA Space The Almighty Buck Science

Singer Reportedly Outbids NASA for Space Tourist's Seat 242

RocketAcademy writes "ABC News is reporting that Phantom of the Opera singer/actress Sarah Brightman outbid NASA for a seat on a Soyuz flight to the International Space Station. Brightman reportedly paid more than $51 million. If that story is true, there may be some interesting bidding wars in the future."
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Singer Reportedly Outbids NASA for Space Tourist's Seat

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  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @07:36PM (#41544353)
    Remember to feel sorry for those poor starving artists when the RIAA hits you with a multi-million dollar lawsuit for downloading a CD.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @08:07PM (#41544573)

    .... Capitalism Defeats America?

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @08:24PM (#41544673)

    No doubt she make good money selling records, but its also no doubt she's making pennies on the dollar for those record sales. 30 million records does not come close to 30 million dollars. Which is why so many Aging Rockers are still playing Indian Casinos these days.

    More worrying is that NASA, a MORE THAN EQUAL partner in the ISS, having built 7 of the 10 modules of the station, is being shut out of seats by Russia simply as a money grab.

    Total estimated costs:
    U.S.: $100 billion plus 38 billion to build the Shuttle.
    Europe: $14 billion
    Japan: $10 billion
    Russia: Unknown, but estimated at 45 billion, mostly launch vehicles.
    Canada: $2 billion

    Maybe NASA should have planned ahead to make sure they'd have a launch vehicle to reach their expensive ISS?

    It's like building a beautiful vacation property on a remote island, then you find out that your 30 year old yacht is too unreliable and expensive to get there. You've been paying a Russian freighter for rides to your island, but when someone else pays them more for your seat, you realize that maybe you should have purchased a more modern yacht before you retired your old one.

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) * on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @08:31PM (#41544725)

    That might make sense if the Russian Freighter weren't booking these passengers into YOUR Vacation Home, and paying nothing for the privilege.

  • by jd2112 ( 1535857 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @08:59PM (#41544917)
    If the artist is starving it's probably the RIAA's fault.
  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @09:31PM (#41545057)

    What's this obsession with charity? The $50 million can also pay for hundreds of jobs in the Russian aerospace industry. Those people can then use their salaries to buy houses. Granted, she's quite literally going to be burning a lot of the money, but it's not like it will all just disappear from the economy. Even the rocket fuel is employing oil industry workers.

  • by confused one ( 671304 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @10:01PM (#41545191)
    It's very simple... NASA offers $51 million. Another party offers several million more. U.S. wants Russia to embrace capitalism; so, they do. How can we argue with that? We'll just have to hitch a ride on the next bus. Remember when you were a kid and had to borrow your parents car? You don't like the rules, buy your own.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @10:03PM (#41545199)

    Don't you get it? There is no "NASA seat" in the Soyouz. Seats cost $51million and NASA's just another customer.

  • by Rik Rohl ( 1399705 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @10:07PM (#41545215)


    The wonders of capitalism, that's how.

    Shouldn't every American commenting in this thread be celebrating that communism is dead, and the invisible hand of the market is guiding the Russians?
    Or does that only apply when it benefits the US?

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @10:09PM (#41545225) Journal

    In Capitalist Russia, we'll gladly take your money regardless of who you are. You wanted us to be capitalist, didn't you? Looks like we've learned well indeed.

  • by sveinungkv ( 793083 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @10:18PM (#41545275)
    The time you used writing your post could have been spent earning money you could have spent feeding a starving child. Do you hope you get cardiac arrest and die or are you a hypocrite?
  • by Maudib ( 223520 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @11:56PM (#41545663)

    Thats cool. Now lets talk about Nasa's new 90% tax on commercial docking commercial flights to ISS...

  • by notsoanonymouscoward ( 102492 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @01:14AM (#41545945) Journal

    No its ridiculous (and yet another example of the idiotic entitlement mentality destroying this once great nation) to think that somehow the US deserves seats on the Soyuz because we helped build the ISS. We (the US) had a ride to space. It was our own pimped out space taxi. We no longer have that ride... by choice, by design, by policy, yada yada. It's not Russia's job to drive us to work just because we decided to scrap our old ride BEFORE building a new one. You want to do something (possibly) productive? Write to your representatives in .gov and tell them NASA needs more $.

  • by tooyoung ( 853621 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @01:26AM (#41545989)
    This article implies that [] is inaccurate with their wealth estimates! How could that possibly be? If they were inaccurate, how could they possibly have that domain name and be quoted in highly moderated slashdot comments?
  • by dargaud ( 518470 ) <(slashdot2) (at) (> on Thursday October 04, 2012 @01:37AM (#41546033) Homepage
    Never heard of her, and I don't care enough to google her. But I find it fucked up that singers, people who run after a ball and people who shuffle money between Excel cells are paid more than people who try to design fusion reactors or malaria vaccines. That is all.
  • by Rik Rohl ( 1399705 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @01:42AM (#41546047)

    This is supply and demand in action. The Russians have been granted a (possibly temporary) monopoly on the supply of transport services to the International Space Station. They have in turn, decided to sell seats to the highest bidder. The Russians have been selling access to the ISS for some time now, and it is not their problem that NASA has decided to discard their manned spaceflight capabilities with no alternate method of getting there.

    I do not believe that the United States has any kind of say over who the Russians elect to send (though I am happy to be corrected on this if there is official rules to that effect), nor do i believe that they are required to give preferential treatment to NASA coming in at a lower price than what the market will bear, since if they did, they would have prevented other private passengers from doing this previously. They have voice their displeasure over private passengers, but have been unable to do anything about it.

    Also if NASA is thoroughly displeased about this situation then in the true nature of capitalism they can vote with their wallets, and attempt to procure their transport services elsewhere and cease to purchase any transport services from the Russians. What? There's no one else that can do this? Tough noogies.

    As to profit/subsidies etc, the Russians have been using the venerable Soyuz rocket for decades now and have always ran their space program on a shoestring budget. They are quite efficient at producing them and I would believe that they make a reasonable profit selling those seats off (people previously have paid $40 million for a ride) and wouldn't think that their is a subsidy provided by NASA, as going against their wishes and potentially losing that subsidy would not be a profitable move. Since neither of us have factual support to our respective arguments, we'll probably have to let that go.

    In short, if NASA wanted to procure that spot, they should have bid higher.

  • by mianne ( 965568 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @02:07AM (#41546129)

    I agree with your sentiments, but the sad reality is that there's zero chance that you will sell 50,000 tickets at $150 a pop to any science fair or astrophysics lecture. Many ball games and concerts can easily generate that kind of revenue even before earnings from concessions and merchandise--and do it several times every year. Modern society places a much higher premium on being entertained than being informed. What's more, the scientist who develops the next wonder drug isn't going to earn lifelong royalties from it--those earnings will line the pockets of the pharmaceutical company which bought and patented it for several years though.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @03:40AM (#41546455) Journal

    The reason why it should be a fixed price because it's not a fucking commercial enterprise, it's not supposed to be about profit and supply and demand to begin with. If it were, we'd have corporations doing it, not government. But it wasn't corporations that built ISS in the first place, so...

    And if you think that this extra money will really be used to "build better systems", you're very naive - and I'm saying this as a Russian.

  • by isorox ( 205688 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @06:58AM (#41547141) Homepage Journal

    I don't suppose we can take this as an example of why we shouldn't ever pay someone whose job is singing or acting or something else that doesn't matter enough money to fuck something like this up?

    You realize this dumb bitch bidding up the price of a seat like this is going to force NASA to outbid her, costing the taxpayers (who provide NASA with the money they're going to need to spend to outbid her,) millions of dollars just so she can go play astronaut for a few days. There's a simple solution of course, and that is arrest her, charge her with... whatever, I'm sure she's done drugs at some point... and freeze or confiscate her assets, and then we (the People of the United States,) won't have to try to outbid her.

    OR, just fine her the difference between what NASA ends up paying and what they would have paid. Solved.

    It's called capitalism. Russia is a hotbed of capitalism.

    If you don't like it in the communist states of america, start your own space program.

  • by JasterBobaMereel ( 1102861 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:48AM (#41547807)

    ...So you want NASA a non-policing body, to arrest a Foreign national, for being involved in a transaction in a second foreign country, which is perfectly legal in all three countries ....

    Do the words "outside your jurisdiction" and "not illegal" mean anything to you?

  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @10:58AM (#41549205)

    Lots of things are a waste of time and resources - or worse. I drive automobiles, despite the horrific toll they take on the environment and our lives. And this is mostly just to improve my standard of living. I keep my house heated to about 70 degrees, when I don't need anywhere near that amount of heat to survive. I eat meat, which costs something like 7 times the amount of grain that is necessary for me to live comfortably. I run the A/C sometimes in the summer, for no reason other than comfort. Occasionally I take a boat ride, for no reason other than pleasure. I just re-did a perfectly livable room in my house because it looked "dated", and I'm going to pull out a perfectly serviceable bathroom for the same reason. I wash my clothes just so they smell nice. I have clothes that I only wear on special occasions. I buy toys that I don't really need. I use disposable batteries. I post on Slashdot. My engineering job is in the microelectronics industry, which is almost entirely composed of sales of consumer toys. You are playing with one of them right now. I waste resources all the time - who the hell am I to judge Sarah Brightman?

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll