INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT SPACE TOURISM YOU SHOULD KNOW
Traveling to space seemed like a cartoon joke, but we are getting closer and closer to this reality. Would you like to travel to space? Well, you’ll surely live to see it, we are going to explain to you some interesting facts about space tourism in this post! 😉
What is space tourism?
Space tourism is human space travel for simple leisure purposes. It’s classified into different types, including orbital, suborbital, and lunar space tourism.
However, there are broader definitions for space tourism. According to the Space Tourism Guide, space tourism is a space-related commercial activity that includes going into space as a tourist, watching a rocket launch, stargazing, or traveling to a space-centric destination.
A brief history of space tourism
The first space tourist was Dennis Tito, an American billionaire, who spent nearly eight days aboard the International Space Station in April 2001. This trip cost him $20 million and made him the first private citizen to buy his space ticket. Over the next eight years, six other private citizens followed Tito to the International Space Station to become space tourists.
As space tourism became a reality, dozens of companies entered the industry hoping to capitalize on the renewed public interest in space, including Blue Origin in 2000 and Virgin Galactic in 2004. In the 2000s, space tourists were limited to launches aboard Russian Soyuz aircraft and could only go to the ISS. However, everything changed when the other participants began to grow in the market. Today, there are a variety of destinations and companies offering space travel!
Space tourism companies
There are now six major space companies that are organizing or planning to organize tourist flights into space:
- Virgin Galactic
- Blue Origin
- Axiom Space
- Space Perspective
While the first two are focused more on suborbital flights, Boeing and Axiom are working on orbital missions. SpaceX, in turn, is prioritizing lunar tourism in the future. For now, Elon Musk’s company has allowed its Crew Dragon spacecraft to be chartered for orbital flights, as happened with the 3-day Inspiration 4 mission.
Space Perspective is developing a different balloon-based system to take customers to the stratosphere and plans to start commercial flights in 2024.
Orbital and Suborbital Spaceflight
Orbital and suborbital flights are very different. To take an orbital flight means to remain in orbit; that is, to circle the planet continuously at a very high speed so as not to fall back to Earth. Such a trip lasts several days, even a week or more!
A suborbital flight, in turn, is more like a space jump: you take off, make a large arc and finally fall back to Earth, without ever reaching orbit. The duration of the flight, in this case, varies from 2 to 3 hours.
How much does it cost a person to go into space?
The price depends on the type of flight, but remember that suborbital space flights are always cheaper!
- Virgin Galactic: $250,000 for 2 hours of flight at an altitude of 49.7097 miles
- Blue Origin: about $300,000 for a 12-minute suborbital flight at an altitude of 62.1371 miles.
- Axiom Space: $55 million for a 10-day orbital flight
- Space Perspective: $125.000 for a 6-hour flight to the edge of space (19.8839 miles above Earth).
Is space tourism worth it?
What exactly do you expect from a trip into space? In addition to the amazing impressions, during such a trip you can experience the following:
- Weightlessness: Note that during a suborbital flight you’ll feel only a couple of minutes of weightlessness, but it will be really fascinating.
- Space sickness: Symptoms include cold sweats, malaise, loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, and vomiting. Even experienced astronauts aren’t immune to this discomfort!
Why is Space Tourism not good for the environment?
It seems that if this becomes a reality and the trend grows, the world is going to get worse! Let’s remember some facts about space exploration…
In general, rocket launches are harmful to the environment. During the combustion of rocket fuels, rocket engines release noxious gasses and soot particles (also known as black carbon) into the upper atmosphere, resulting in ozone depletion.
Think about this: in 2018, black carbon-producing rockets emitted roughly the same amount of black carbon emitted annually by the global aviation industry.
However, not all space companies use black carbon as fuel. Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket has a liquid hydrogen engine: hydrogen doesn’t emit carbon, but simply turns into water vapor when burned.
The main reason space tourism could be detrimental to the environment is its potential popularity. With the increasing number of rocket launches, the presence of carbon will only increase!
♻️Do you make your travels sustainably? Check out what Sustainable Tourism is!
Would you like to become a space tourist? 😉