South Dakotans intrigued by space tourism

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — If your family hasn’t decided on a summer vacation destination yet, how about space? The test flight to the edge of earth’s atmosphere by billionaire Richard Branson on Sunday has captured the imagination of many people in KELOLAND who are excited about the future of space travel.

Rod Huisman’s family vacation to Missouri has taken a detour to the Kirby Science Discovery Center at the Washington Pavilion.

“Our original trip to Branson got cancelled, so we decided to stick around Sioux Falls,” Huisman said.

Instead of Branson, Missouri, it was Richard Branson’s historic flight to the heavens that grabbed Huisman’s attention. Although, Huisman is somewhat up in the air about venturing to space, himself.

“I think it would be fun to play in weightlessness. But I don’t see any reason to go any further than that,” Huisman said.

The lure of commercial space travel might be more within reach of future generations, including 12-year-old Bodhi Linde of Rapid City.

“I think space launches are super-cool and I think that there’s a big leap in space launches from when I watched them when I was a little younger,” Linde said.

The Pavilion’s space exhibit typically sees a jump in visitors following scientific breakthroughs like Branson’s launch into space over the weekend.

“Any time something significant like that happens, we see a surge in interest here with our science center and our space floor in particular. So we try to wrap our daily programming around some of those events,” Washington Pavilion President & CEO Darrin Smith said.

But Pavilion visitors see the price tag of a trip into space as astronomical.

“It’s not going to be as simple as driving from Sioux Falls too Mitchell, say. It’s going to be for the rich man,” Huisman said.

Yet the view from above, would be priceless.

Pavilion President Darrin Smith credits much of the record attendance at the Kirby Science Discovery Center to the public’s interest in space exploration.

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