[Disclaimer: Yes, I do have the odd extra credit laying around my bank account, as well.]
By now our sometimes-faltering economy has created a number of individuals who are financially well-off. In fact they are so carefree that they indulge in numerous idiosyncratic, exclusive or strange hobbies. Each to their own, right?
One common interest among these people is the fascination with independent, private space flight. Currently both the Consortium and the Protectorate seem to have agreed to keep a tight monopoly on space flight. Both inter-stationary and inter-planetary travel is strictly regulated and controlled by the government or closely allied corporations.
But politicians wouldn't be politicians unless they were susceptible to some slight persuasion. The private space flight enthusiasts got organized and started to lobby away in order to get their own ships. This seems to finally bear some fruit.
I heard from some well-informed circles that currently legislation is being drafted to enable private citizens to own and operate space vessels. In fact some preparatory university courses have been available for a few weeks now. And from what I understand the corresponding ships will be made available for purchase in the very near future.