Let’s say you have got the right stuff, decent health, and a burning desire to lose your bonds to planet Earth. If you are not scheduled to fly on the Space Shuttle as a professional astronaut, maybe space tourism is your thing. The outer space is the new Wild West. Although to many people, the idea of travelling to space is still only a mere pipe dream. The truth is that space tourism is now fast becoming a reality!
What Is Space Tourism?
Space tourism refers to a fraction of the wider tourism industry that focuses on human activities of travelling into space solely for recreation. Space tourism is known by many other aliases such as citizen space exploration, personal spaceflight, or commercial human spaceflight. There are different dimensions to this booming industry. It includes orbital, suborbital, and lunar space tourism.
Over the past years, many people have indicated a high interest in visiting the space. Leveraging on the public’s fascination with space travel, space travel tourism industry is fastly becoming a billion-dollar enterprise. Therefore, it is not hard to understand the interest in commercial space travel by private business. Many private companies are positioned to making peoples dream of visiting the space a reality. Before you run away with this idea, hang onto your hats because your options are going to shoot through the roof within the next couple of years.
A Brief History Of Space Tourism
Space travel, in general, dates as far back as the 1960s. Before now, people have been visiting the space, however, these visits are mostly sponsored by the government and for governmental purposes, never for personal recreation. The first man to successfully travel to space is the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961. He made a 108-minute orbital flight aboard the Vostok 1 spacecraft. Later on, in 1969, courtesy of the Apollo programs, the US man became the first to land in the moon. Not till the late 90s and early 2000s did the general space tourism industry spring up.
The deal between the Russian company MirCorp and the American company Space Adventures Ltd further switched the gear for space tourism. In the early 2000s, the first space tourist, Tito paid $20 million for his flight ticket on the Russian spacecraft Soyuz TM-32. He spent a whole seven days onboard the ISS. Sequel to the success of Tito’s flight, much attention was centred on orbital space tourism. Other notable figures to make a successful space voyage to ISS include the South African computer millionaire Mark Shuttleworth in 2002 and American businessman Gregory Olsen in 2005. From 2001 to 2009, the Russian Soyuz spacecraft made eight flights and took seven space tourists to the ISS, charging between US$200–250 million per trip. In 2010, Russia suspended its orbital space tourism following an increment in the size of the International Space Station crew, which occupies more positions that would have been for space tourists.
In the middle of last year, NASA made known its objectives to permit private astronauts to go to the International Space Station, starting from this year. Public voyagers are to use the SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft.
To date, the success of orbital space tourism is still that of the Russian Space body. In the present day, many companies have invested hugely in developing commercial suborbital space tourism. Such companies include Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, and Blue Origin.
Companies That Can Take You To Space
With growing interest by a significant percentage of the populace to visit outer earth, many futuristic, innovative companies have surfaced to help make these dreams and goals of many attainable.
The first on the list is none other than the premier private spacelift company, Space Adventures, Inc. this outstanding spacelift company was established way back in 1998 by Eric C. Anderson. The company aims at providing opportunities for private astronauts to fly to and live in space. Over the years, this leading private spacelift company have successfully organized eight orbital spaceflight program for seven of its clients. These passengers spent an aggregate of 80 days in space, travelling close to 30 million miles in space. They seem not to rely on this glory, as the company has fastidiously been seeking innovative ways to take more people to space in the safest, affordable and reliable way, offering every passenger the experience they rightly deserve. They offer sub-orbital and lunar spaceflights, launch tours, spacelift training, spacewalk and zero-gravity flight.
The Virgin Galactic is focused on making space tourism available for everyone, as long as you can for a ticket. Founded by billionaire Richard Branson, the Virgin Galactic space tourism company is aiming to provide regular suborbital spaceflights for its teeming customers. Posed on becoming the first air space tourist plane, the VSS Unity, which was tested the previous year, will be costing about $250,000 per ticket.
Blue Origin is one of the frontier companies to champion commercial space travel. Founded in 2000 by the Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, the founder’s vision is all into offering space tourism services. To achieve this, Blue Origin plans to use the New Shepard rocket, which takes off and lands vertically, and ascends to a maximum elevation of 300,000ft, before it becomes weightless upon descent to earth.
This company has since inception, grown to be a significant competitor to the Virgin Galactic, especially when it relates to sub-orbital space travel tourism. The amazon born company had conducted a series of tests over the past years, and it’s still on course to take people into space sooner. Although, unlike the Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin is yet to start the issuance of flight tickets. Nevertheless, be sure that its six-passenger space lift will be opening soon, and tickets per seat are also expected to cost around $250,000.
Yet again, another company you can count on to make you space tour dreams a reality is the SpaceX. This Elon Musk company is already highly experienced in launching space-bound flights. What is left is to see how they can leverage these experiences of theirs to partake in the auspicious and futuristic commercial space travel. It is clearly apart from other companies as it focuses more on lunar tourism, space tourism beyond the earth orbit.
A few years ago, the company made known its intentions to take a selected few individuals on a trip around the moon. We are still anxiously waiting on this, and even if the company is yet to reveal plans on prospective lunar trips, we are always keeping all fingers crossed.
Finally, the space tourism industry is made more exciting with a space hotel. The Orion Span has been working on a private commercial space station, called the Aurora Space Station. It is expected to be set to receive guests by 2022 latest. It could cost up to $9.5 million to make a reservation.
Everything is fully set to kick start this innovative tourist idea. It’s time to explore the outer earth!