Many of us dream about getting closer to the stars but only a few achieved it, Literally! We are talking about Space Tourism. You can buy a ticket only if you are a millionaire or billionaire. If you are still wondering what this means, Space tourism is nothing but taking the non-astronauts or the private citizen to space travel in the suborbital or orbital flights, letting them have an out-of-the-world experience and bringing them back to the Earth.
The world’s first space tourist, Dennis Tito, a businessman from America, traveled to space with the Russian Federal Space Agency in 2001 and spent 8 days there. To date, only seven members followed suit. The space race in the present scenario is among the billionaire competitors Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson. Here are the companies founded by these tycoons.
SpaceX Space Tourism:
The pioneer in this race is SpaceX, owned by the Tesla founder Elon Musk. It was founded in 2002 with an aim of cost-effective space travel and setting up colonies on Mars. Elon once said if he’s given two options to go to outer space leaving this planet and look out the options to live there or just settle for Earth., he’d go with the first option. His company has been a regular partner of NASA in supplying ISS goods.
We already knew that he made a private interplanetary shipyard in South Texas, to develop his next-generation “starships”, which makes and believes in the reusable craft. This makes the ride sustainable. This is an orbital space tour that is more complex, energy involving, and setting the next level in this game. Inspiration4 is all set to launch four tourists selected irrespective of age, gender, race for three days in October 2021. SpaceX along with Axiom Space is planning to send twenty tourists in January 2022.
Owned by Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin was founded in 2000, inspired by the physicist Gerard O’Neill. This is a low orbit space tour and one of Jeff’s short-term goals – mission to the moon and back by 2024. Shepard Capsule is a sub-orbital launch vehicle that is reusable, contains six seats and a large window to allow the participants to capture all the astounding moments and experience weightlessness.
This ride lasts for a very short period of eleven minutes, by going to an altitude of about a hundred kilometers. Bookings officially started last month and are expected to launch in 2030. Bezos believes that humans should leave this planet and expand limitlessly into space.
Fun fact Jeff Bezos will be one of the first passengers in its very first sub-orbital trip.
Built by the British billionaire Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic is a sub-orbital space tour vehicle. Despite facing many hurdles like a plane crash leading to a pilot’s death in 2014, it claimed six hundred reservations till now. It modified and redesigned the system, which can now carry up to nineteen people into low orbit space by 2022.
Sub-orbital tours are more accessible and cheaper than orbital space tours, as it just reaches the outer edge of the space in the first case. With an increase in the space race, we can see many private companies emerging to make cost-effective rides, making them affordable for many people.
How safe and easy is Space Tourism
Speaking of the safety and risks involved in space tours, they are very high. Even the cost of living there up above the sky is incredibly expensive. Bigelow comes with an alternative for this with inflatable space station modules. These can be taken to space by rockets in small loads and, when blown in the space, turns into much larger size and can hold a large area. This could be a better option for space hotels.
In near future, this fantasy will become true by creating a favorable ecosystem for space-stay and making it possible for common people to have space experience.