SAN FRANCISCO-The world's largest chip maker and a relatively little-known data storage company are teaming up to provide a major portion of the IT system for a space travel project that might one day turn into a commercial venture.
Intel is providing its new "Tolapai" chip set, and Dot Hill Systems, a small, independent storage array company, is handling all the data storage requirements.
No, this isn't the Spaceship Two project headed by designer Burt Rutan and backed by maverick entrepreneur Richard Branson, who also is developing a commercial space bus.
This is the Hermes Spacecraft, a space shuttle designed by another entrepreneur, Morris Jarvis of Mesa, Ariz. Hermes is being developed on the premise that anyone should be able to take a trip into space.
But such a flight will never be cheap; a project spokesperson said a seat for one person will be about "the cost of a new car." However, anybody who's been auto shopping lately knows that you can buy a new Kia for tens of thousands of dollars less than, say, a new Maserati, so there's a lot of latitude in that statement.
Those tickets have to be expensive. Jarvis has said it will cost about $1.5 million to raise the craft skyward on a test flight with a helium balloon, and that launching it with a rocket engine would cost about $5.4 million. The ship will only carry a few people-most likely six to eight.
Specifically, Jarvis' business plan provides for space travelers paying $25,000 for a trip powered by a helium balloon and $100,000 for a rocket-powered ride.