Really! Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine reports in their December 11 issue that private spending on space-related activities now exceeds that of governments. In fact, only about $70 billion of the $180 billion in worldwide space revenues comes from government.
Among others investing in private space exploration, British airline executive Richard Branson hopes Virgin Galactic will begin taking paying customers above 100 km. in 2009. To reach the edge of space on sub-orbital flights they'll be using SpaceShipTwo designed and built by legend-in-his-own-time Burt Rutan.
However, Branson's SpaceShipTwo and his Virgin Galactic spaceline aren't the only players. For example, Las Vegas real-estate entrepreneur and hotel developer Robert Bigelow is moving ahead with plans to orbit space hotels for tourists and facilities for other private space explorers by 2010.