It may be a dream for every kid to walk and fly like a butterfly in the sky. It’s time to make your dream come true; a trip to space is not a big deal now! The common man could now travel to space for recreational purposes. Space tourism has become popular in this sense.
Space for Everyone
Initially, space travel was possible for the established government-owned International Space Station (ISS) or on vehicles such as Russian Soyuz, or vehicles fielded by private companies.
Apart from professionally trained astronauts, American businessman Dennis Tito was the first space tourist who visited space on April 28, 2001. This visit gave prominence to space tourism, and the orbital space tourism industry garnered much media attention following Tito’s flight.
Virgin Galactic has already sold hundreds of tickets for a voyage into space.
Private companies started to work hard trying to make space tourism profitable by developing suborbital vehicles designed to take passengers to an altitude of 100km. In 2004, the US Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act (CSLAA) provided guidelines for regulating the safety of commercial human spaceflight in the US under the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Live your Dream
Tourism in space became a dream come true for many on July 11, 2021. The initial step towards this giant trail was first led by an American space company named Virgin Galactic. The tug of war between the multi-billionaires to bring tourists into space was won by British entrepreneur Richard Branson (72). Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity rocket plane with six passengers, including Branson, went to space and returned within one hour. That was a historical flight to space which proved that humans could also travel into space for amusement.
Virgin Galactic has already sold hundreds of tickets for a voyage into space. Space companies like Virgin Galactic, Space X, and Blue Origin are a few pioneers in the field. These companies aim to bring people to space and let them spend some time in no gravity and then return to earth in suborbital space flights.
According to the American Space Agency, NASA, 60 miles above the earth, that is 100 kilometres above, is considered to be space, even though there is no sharp physical boundary that marks the end of the atmosphere and the beginning of space. This area is known as the Karman Line. Pilots, mission specialists and civilians who cross this boundary are officially deemed astronauts.
Travel to Infinity
Plans to bring people into space were long-term projects. Branson’s Virgin Galactic gained much importance as they won a contest between the multi-billionaires. Jeff Bezos, the executive chairman of Amazon and the owner of American space company Blue Origin, was preparing to go into space in his space flight, but Branson overtook Bezos by flying 9 days earlier than Bezos’s scheduled flight.
The lunar tourism project, dearMoon, conceived and financed by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, was announced in 2018.
More than 800 people have already booked for the Virgin Galactic space flight. They have sold this out for $250000. They are planning to start commercial space flights by 2023.
The CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk, is also behind the same dream with his space company SpaceX. In collaboration with NASA, they are planning to send civilians to Moon and Mars. Elon Musk has declared he will begin a human colony on Mars by 2030.
In 2019, NASA declared they are ready to open the International Space Station for individual space tourists for a fixed rate.
Dear Moon, We are Coming…
The lunar tourism project, dearMoon, conceived and financed by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, was announced in 2018. This Lunar tourism project will make use of the SpaceX Starship spacecraft. The flight is expected to occur in 2023 with 6 to 8 passengers, including Maezawa, onboard.
As the space tourism industry evolves, space flight participants will grow, suborbital and orbital flights will inevitably give way to lunar excursions and trips to Mars, and maybe beyond that!
Now put on your thinking hats and think about the following questions for a couple of minutes.
How would you describe the term “space tourism” to your students?
Can you think of how the decision to open the International Space Station to tourists will influence Space tourism?
Write down your thoughts and discuss them with your students, children and your colleagues. Listen to their views and compare them with your own. As you listen to others, note how similar or different your views are to others’.
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