Citizens protest as government pauses space flights
Citizens from all over the United States are protesting against the TALLY Act - the Tactical Aerospace Launch Limitation Year. The act, passed earlier during March, would dedicate all US orbital launches until April 2046 for maintaining US military satellites. However, it also cancels all civilian spaceflights to and from America during this period - US citizens will not be able to hop across the globe in 2 hours for an entire year.
"This is ridiculous; I know national defense is important, but crashing the vacations of so many people like this is unacceptable.", proclaimed one of the protesters, Markus Sullenburg.
Another protester took a more political direction. Angelina Padré claims that the act "just goes to show how focused on national defense the government is. They're willing to trash the tourism industry, one of our biggest cash cows, just to keep their toys going!"
We reached out to the spacelines, including SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Pavi, for comment.
"We're proud to say that we already have cargo launch contracts from the US government all the way through 2045", says Gwynne Shotwell, vice president of SpaceX. "While the passenger launches are our main revenue source, we will still be operating in 2046 and beyond."
"While we have to cancel all of our passenger flights this year, our passion for space has not faded in any way.", Pavi Space stated in a press release. "The Astronaut Center is still operating as usual, so you can still, for example, get an orbital certification for your trip to the Station."
The government is passing the TALLY act to give a huge update to their aging network of location and reconnaissance satellites - a timely one, as many satellites either are operating beyond their planned expiry dates or have already been deorbited. "This is a chance to modernize the satellite fleet that allows the US to function as smoothly as it does now - pinpoint weather forecasts, ubiquitous GPS and national security all depend on them. I will appreciate if all citizens bear the slight inconvenience this will bring - I'm sure everyone will appreciate the upgrades.", says Tammy Naples, spokeswoman of the DoD.
While one-hour hops are not available, citizens can still take the longer airplane flights - these take less than a day to travel the globe, which is manageable for most groups. 3 days ago, Ryanair announced a 20% discount for Economy tickets on flights departing or landing in the US, attracting travellers searching for a way to get to their destination. Likewise, Qantas switched onboard cuisine on Economy seats to the delectable, carefully designed mix usually reserved for Business and First passengers. You might need an extra day or two, but in the end you'll still get to enjoy your time at your favorite beach.