Hello there! You must have heard of Space tourism after all, this word is all over the papers and articles, well the time is changing. Like there are millions of millions of people out there who once in a lifetime dreamed of going out in space, I bet you did too.
Honestly, even today when I see the sky it fascinates me. I’ve this great desire to break through it and see what’s beyond the skyline, how does the moon look? Or what does the galaxy look like?
Well as I said time is changing so does the technology. All this sci-fi fantasy or the things we used to watch in movies are somewhat turning into reality. How? Space Tourism.
Billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Elon musk and many others with their great mindsets of changing imagination into reality and a vision of human origin beyond the earth atmosphere. They’re near to build what is called Space Tourism.
Very recently, Sir Richard Branson, a 70 years-old British billionaire on July 11, 2021 made history, he accomplished a successful flight to the edge of space with his company Virgin Galactic. Amazing right!
They’ve now established themselves as the first tourist pioneer to make a journey with a commercial spaceflight company. And also, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) granted the company a license after successfully completing the final two test flights to space.
This new accomplishment was all over the news channels, magazines and has millions of billionaires waiting for the day they can also explore what’s outside the world.
However, not losing the competition even billionaire Jeff Bezos’s founder of Blue Origins company is due to launch his New Shepard space rocket into space on 20th July 2021. This will be the 16th test flight but for the first-time tourist will be inside the capsule.
In this Article
Things to know about Space and space tourism:
To begin with, according to science Space is an immeasurable three-dimensional extent in which objects and events have relative position and direction.
Furthermore, humans have already discovered the boundary between earth and outer space. This boundary is called the Kármán line, a metaphysical word for the altitude where it becomes too thin and which supports aeronautical flights.
According to Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the Kármán line is defined as the altitude of 100 kilometers which is 62 miles; 330,000 feet above the Earth’s mean sea level.
However, not all organizations share the same information. So, as per the U.S Air Force the boundary is 50 miles, 80 km above the sea level.
The Kármán line was named after Theodore von v Kármán, a Hungarian physicist and American engineer who was devoted to aeronautics and astronautics. He was the first person to derive such a meticulous altitude limit, while he calculated the boundary as 275,000 ft, 84 km.
History of Space Tourism?
Who doesn’t like adventure? Well space tourism is a concept of a new kind of adventure and an exciting feature of the wider tourism industry.
With the great technologies and support from great established space industries now we humans can travel and explore space for recreational purposes.
Now, anyone can book a ticket for space and can be an astronaut and explore the other dimension, doesn’t it sound so cool?
However, there are several different types of space tourism including suborbital, lunar space including orbital space tourism. The first Orbital space tourism was performed by Roscosmos. The widely known price range for the tickets was US$20-25 million per trip.
Back in 2001 Space tourism was considered as the earliest markets that would emerge for commercial spaceflight and during that time Space Adventure was the only company sending paying passengers to space.
Certainly, Russia halted orbital space tourism in 2010 due to the increase in the international space station crews. Admittedly space tourism was supposed to resume in 2015 but the plan was postponed and didn’t occur till 2009.
Surprisingly, again on 7th June, 2019 NASA, announced that starting 2020 the organization aims to start legalizing private astronauts to go to the international space station with the use of the SpaceX crew Dragon spacecraft and Boeing Starliner spacecraft for public astronauts. Generally, the price for the tickets were planned to be 35,000 USD per day for one astronaut.
Projects on Space Tourism
Well, there are so many great minds with overflowing desires to explore space and wishes to establish themselves in the pages of history.
While for us our world is too big and unsurprisingly, we don’t know much about our own planet yet so many areas of life and mother nature are unexplored.
However, you must be wondering how far our future generation will extend their exploration. Our generation is trying to accomplish what looks impossible by naked eye.
Whereas, they are so close to discover what’s on the other side of the black hole, walk on the surface of other planets and might change the meaning of human existence, making the difference.
Above all, there were many projects started by talented enthusiasts to resume the possibilities of Space tourism but only few are still striving to achieve the goal.
Cancelled projects on space tourism:
- Armadillo Aerospace, they were developing a two-seat vertical takeoff and landing rocket called Hyperion. However, afterwards the assets were sold to EXOS Aerospace and it is still unclear whether Hyperion is being developed or not.
- XCOR Aerospace, this company was developing a suborbital vehicle called Lynx but development was halted in May 2016. Because XCOR was unable to complete the prototype development and went bankrupt.
- Excalibur Almaz, they deliberately proposed to take three tourists around the moon using a modified Almaz Space station module and said the trip would last around 6 months. However, their equipment failed to launch and converted it into an educational exhibit.
- The Golden Spike Company, it was an American space transport startup active from 2019 to 2013. The startup’s goal was to launch private commercial space transportation services to the surface of the moon. The website of the company was halted in September 2015.
- The Inspiration Mars Foundation, it was an American non-profit organization started by Dennis Tito. They proposed to launch a crewed mission to flyby Mars in January 2018 or 2021 but their website halted in 2015.
Successful projects on space tourism:
- Scaled Composites, they were the first private company to reach and surpass an altitude of 100km twice within two weeks with SpaceShipOne. Later, they were awarded with $10 million X Prize in October 2004. The first flight was flown by Michael Melvill making him the first commercial astronaut.
- Mir Corp, at the end of 1990s the private venture which was in charge of the space station during that time, started seeking potential space tourists to visit Mir in order to offset some of its maintenance cost.
- Their first tourist was Dennis Tito and followed by South African Mark Shuttleworth in April 2002, and the third one was Gregory Olsen in October 2005. However, in 2003 the space shuttle disintegrated on re-entry into the earth atmosphere, killing all the 7 astronauts.
- After the disaster the space tourism was temporarily closed but in July 2005 it resumed. Well after a few years in June 2019, it was again put into hold.
Ongoing Projects on Space Tourism:
- Virgin Galactic, the company was founded in 2004 and the mission of the company is to approach a new era of space tourism. The first of these spaceplanes, VSS enterprise, was intended to begin its first commercial flight in 2015 but the enterprise broke up over the Mojave Desert during a test flight in October 2014. Billionaire Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Galactic soared more than 50 miles above the New Mexico desert on 11th July 2021 from the second spaceplane VSS unity. So, after this second successful test flight it is poised to begin the commercial operation next year.
- Blue Origin is an American aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services private company. It was founded by Jeff Bezos in the year 2000. This company is developing the New Shepard rocket reusable suborbital launch system for short duration space tourism and plans to carry a maximum 6 tourists at a time. The intricately designed capsule is attached to the top portion of an 18-meter rocket. This New Shepard rocket reached 66 miles during its 8th test flight on April 29, 2018. However, according to news channels, after 15 test flights Jeff Bezos will head towards space on 20th July 2021.
- Boeing Starliner, it is being developed as part of NASA’s commercial crew program under the agreement that NASA will allow Boeing to sell the seats for space tourists. According to Boeing’s proposal, one seat per flight would be competitive with what Roscosmos charges tourists.
- Bigelow Aerospace, they’re planning to extend their successes with the genesis modules by launching the B330, it has 330 cubic meters internal space, aboard a Vulcan Rocket. The Vulcan is the only rocket under development with sufficient expandable performance and a large enough payload. It is contracted to boost BA330 to low lunar orbit by the end of 2022.
- Aurora Space Station, this United States startup firm, Orion Span announced in early 2018 that they’re planning to establish a luxury space hotel to orbit within a few years. This project is still in its preliminary stage. Besides, the name of this hotel is Aurora station, the hotel will offer a maximum of 6 individuals to stay in a pill-shaped space hotel, floating in the unexplored universe for 12 days for $9.5 million. The hotel cabin size is approximately 43 feet and 14 feet in width.
- SpaceX Axiom Space-1 (AX-1), they’re planning to board a tourist trip to the ISS in January 2022 using a Dragon 2 spacecraft.
- Space Adventure Crew Dragon mission, Space adventure with SpaceX is planning to send four tourists to low Earth orbit for a few days in late 2021 or early 2022. Furthermore, Space adventures Ltd announced they’re working on a DSE-Alpha, a circumlunar mission to the moon and with the price per passenger is $100,000,000.
- Elon Musk, announced that the starship will be ready for an unpiloted trip to Mars in 2022, and later the crewed flight will follow in 2024.
Weird innovations for future space exploration
Not everyone is destined to get a chance to explore outer space but our future descendants will possibly find ways to travel and explore far away galaxies.
However, later in the near future everyone can become an astronaut. Prepare yourself to see some new and unique mind-blowing innovations, like who would’ve thought that these things would exist?
High Altitude Space balloons
Spaceship Neptune, it is a stadium size balloon with reclining seats for tourists developed by one space focused company known as Space Perspective. They’ve announced that the spaceship Neptune will launch before sunrise at NASA’s Kennedy space center by the end of 2024. Furthermore, the spaceship is capable of flying up to an altitude of more than 100,000 feet.
Likewise, it’ll carry eight tourists inside a pressurized capsule and enjoy the view from the cabin through the windows. Moreover, unlike other space vehicles instead of astronaut suits the explorers will be seated in plush recliner chairs with access to refreshment bars.
Well, just as the name suggests, it means sending the remains into space. This concept was proposed by a science-fiction author Neil R. Jones, in a novella called “The Jameson Satellite”. According to the co-founder Chris Johnson, he wants to change the negative expensive death care industry into something positive for mankind.
However, unlike the old ways of space burial, this company offers space coffins for the person’s body. The coffin is specially designed to protect their body while collecting data and broadcasting. Any data collected via coffin can be commercialized to further space exploration.
While all the space companies out there like NASA’s working for long-term and long-distance convenient space travel. The Voyager Space Station or Voyager station is planning to construct a rotating wheel space station in 2026. The construction will be handled by Orbital Assembly Corporation.
The trip to the station would cost around US$5 million, and the space station would accommodate up to 400 guests and featured 24 individual pods. Additionally, the SpaceX Starship is planned to be used to shuttle space tourists to the voyager station.
Well, as a matter of fact the food supply to the space stations and other far away missions is extremely expensive. Besides, one astronaut on the international space station requires at least 1.8 kilograms of food per day. If the mission is for further distance than the required amount would increase.
However, the concept of space agriculture is incredibly appealing as it can save a lot of expenses. This concept was introduced by U.S Air Force Colonel Nick Hague, his aboard the ISS and studying how to grow plants in space. Well, this is something interesting!
Scent of Space
Umm, well until now only the astronauts were lucky enough to smell the scent of space. Also, for more than a decade NASA has been using the smell of space and environment just like space in-field training to prepare astronauts for the events they’ll experience in space.
However, now a team of experts in the fashion, design, tech and logistic fields are bringing the scent of space to the public. Just like any other cologne or perfume, now even the scent of space is called as Eau de Space is available for us.
This space luggage concept was proposed by the world’s youngest astronaut in training, Alyssa Carson, collaborated with Horizon Studious, a Berlin-based company. Carson is said to be the first person to walk on Mars.
Well, this concept luggage is called Horizon one, it is an intricately designed carbon fiber suitcase suitable for space tourism.
To begin with, after the 2020 toilet paper crisis, NASA’s lunar Loo challenge is giving anyone the opportunity to design new toilets for Artemis astronauts. This challenge consists of a $35,000 prize that’ll be split between the best top three designs by the individuals or teams of people over 18 years of age.
Do you believe in space elevators? Well researchers say with today’s technology space elevator can be built it just needs to be hung over the Moon. And they believed that a space elevator can reduce the cost of reaching space but until now it was not technologically feasible.
Well, the concept was introduced by a Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in 1895, when he first saw the sight of the newly constructed Eiffel Tower and imagined building a space elevator. Decades later, a space shuttle company, Obayashi, is rethinking the concept and hopes to start transporting people into space by 2050.
Well these were some awesome unbelievable ideas which are still under development. In the next generation, we may explore parallel galaxies and walk on the surface of more planets via Elevators accompanied with smart suitcases.