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The Prospects of Space Tourism

Commercial space travel in the outer space

Space tourism is a form of travel in outer space for both business or recreational purposes. In the past decades, at least 500 astronauts have flown out of space for research reasons.

This means that the technology is there and it is just a matter of time when it will eventually happen making it accessible not only to the rich, but also the middle class of society.

Travel prospects to outer space
The prospect of travel to outer space is truly exciting, but there are some important hurdles to overcome, even as early entrants are starting their ventures. (Pixabay)

Progress of Space Tourism

The most prominent event in the history of space travel as a commercial venture is the pledge made by Sir Richard Branson in 2008 to bring guests into space aboard the Virgin Galactic. However, this has not happened yet, but there are plans to launch the 2.5-hour space trip at a whopping cost of $250,000 per passenger next year. Included in the price is a three-day training at Spaceport America, New Mexico.

Between 2001-2009, seven paying civilians were already brought to the International Space Station by the Russian government. It has plans to do so again in the near future.

Space Tourism Update 2020

As at 2020, Virgin Galactic is yet to set the date for its first commercial flight to space. But it already has over 8,000 registrations of interest and 600 flight reservations, with $80 million in deposits from the rich folks. These flights are planned to be 90-minute flights, which will include several minutes of weightlessness. The first commrecial space flight is scheduled to be in late 2020.

Another commercial space travel company in the works is SpaceX by Elon Musk, of Tesla car company, who are in direct competition with the Virgin Galactic. They have plans to send four private citizens to space aboard its Crew Dragon spacecraft.

(Information courtesy of One Last Thing, The Final Word on Wall Street)

Space X in outer space
Founded in 2002, Space X is one of private companies entering space tourism
market, as an American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services
company.
(Image: Pixabay)

Constraints

Development of space tourism is burdened by several factors. One is the prohibitive cost of building a space craft and operating it. Imagine the costs of inspecting, preparing and running a space shuttle, estimated at 3,750 working days making it a labor-intensive venture.

Next, there is the security factor that needs to be looked into. It is hazardous as demonstrated by the space shuttle Columbia disaster of 2003. If you look at the manned space program of the US, there are 2,320 deaths per 100,000 passengers making it 45,000 times riskier than riding a commercial aircraft or a supersonic jet fighter. Then there is the market size associated with space tourism. Not everyone can afford to pay $20 million like the seven civilians who flew aboard the Russian Soyuz rocket.

Space shuttle Discovery lift off
Even though there are still many constraints in developing space tourism,
the things are slowly taking off and we can look forward to an exciting future
for space travel.
(Image: Pixabay)

Alternative

For now, reaching for the sky is a feasible option. Supersonic flights are offered to those who need that adrenaline rush with a taste of how it’s going to feel and look like once you reach the edge of the sky. These flights are also way cheaper than going into space and although the costs are not for everyone, in the long run, prices are going to go down as scale of operations and competition improve. While only cosmonauts and astronauts go beyond the earth’s atmosphere, the sight of seeing the edge at dizzying speeds is by itself a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

 
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