Kiwis on waiting lists for commercial space flights remain determined would-be astronauts, although one admits to losing some confidence in Virgin Galactic's programme after its disaster in California.
"It's an absolute tragedy," said Dunedin artist Makouri Scott, of the explosion of the tourism rocket SpaceShipTwo on a test flight at the weekend.
The blast killed a pilot and injured another, who parachuted into the Mojave Desert from 13.7km up. "I've met some of the pilots and it is a sad blow for the industry," Scott said.
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He remains determined to become "the first professional artist in space" but suspects it will be with a rival Dutch venture aiming to blast its first clients out of the Earth's atmosphere by the end of this year.
Another Kiwi on the waiting list, high-tech entrepreneur Derek Handley, said from the US that he remained intent on becoming one of the first civilian astronauts.
"I take heart from the spiritual weight and encouragement of every great civilisation in history behind us ... marvelling at our collective dream of making space accessible to all," he said.
But it was "a bitter truth that brave heroes must risk their own futures to unlock new frontiers for ours".
Read here about the crash.