Public Space Tourism
“The idea gradually dawned around the turn of the twentieth century that the rocket was the key to space travel. ” (History of Rocketry and Space Travel) Then in 1969, Lance Armstrong and Apollo 11 landed on the mood for the first time. Now over 40 years later, the thought of public tourism into outer space has become a reality. A big turning point in public space tourism was the SpaceX competition, which was held on October 4, 2004. There was a $10,000,000 prize to the group who could build a private space ship that could carry three people to 100 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, twice within two weeks.
The prize was one by a group called SpaceShipOne, led by aerospace designer Burt Rutan and financier Paul Allen. Dr Buzz Aldrin, one of the NASA astronauts from Apollo 11 said, “I think the Ansari Xprize should be viewed as the beginning of one giant leap. ”(Xprize Foundation) There had been space tourism prior to 2004, but it was much more expensive and not nearly as common. A company called “Space Adventures” has been sending tourists into outer space since 2001. The Japanese are also very advanced when it comes to space tourism; “Shimizu Corp. a Japanese company, has already made blueprints for an orbiting space hotel”(Dust off the Moon Suit) Which means that maybe at some point will you not only be able to take a trip into outer space, but you will be able to sleep comfortable in a hotel which floats in orbit. One of the biggest names in space tourism in the world at this time is Virgin Galactic, which is owned by Richard Branson. The spaceships that are used by Virgin Galactic are built with the crew and passenger safety in mind.
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They found that Burt Rutan’s designs used to win the Xprize award were thousands of times safer the past space vehicles. Virgin’s space ships can hold up to six passengers and two pilots at a time, and are about sixty feet long. If you want to take a trip into outer space with Virgin Records, I hope you have a lot of money in your bank account. A ticket for this trip is $200,000. 00 with down payments starting at $20,000. 00. Before taking your trip, there would be three days of training.
This training will help simulate what the trip will be like without gravity, and the G-force that will be felt when in flight. There is also a medical examination that would also need to be done, however, Virgin Galactic states that majority of people who wish to travel to outer space will be able to do so without health restrictions. (4) After your medical examination and pre-flight training, you are ready for space travel. Once everyone is suited up and strapped into their seats, and the ship is ready to leave; That is when you will feel the thrusters engage.
On your way in to space, the ship travels at approximately 2500 miles per hour, which is over 3 times the speed of sound. Here is where the pre-flight training helps you cope with the G-force that is felt as the ship climbs into space. As the ship climbs higher and higher, the passengers will notice the sky outside change from light blue to dark blue, then to black. Once in space, the rocket motors for the vessel are powered off, and it’s complete silence.
At this time, if you take your seat belt off, you will see that gravity is no longer there and you can literally float around the cabin of the ship. The engines of the ship are designed for the pilots to be able to easily maneuver it for the passengers to be able to see earth from their position in space. Once they are in position and you’re out of your seat, you better take in that view of earth and space, because it’s not going to be long before you are strapped back in and heading for home. The force felt when going back home is very similar to the feeling felt when heading in to space.
When descending, the seat is reclined and you are basically lying down to help reduce the pressure caused by the force of descent. Once landed, you depart the ship and head home, only with great memories of what home looked like from over sixty miles away. Obviously a $200,000. 00 trip in to space isn’t something that everyone can afford to do, however, it is actually a reasonable price to go do something that most will never do in their lifetime. The technological changes made to space ships along with years of research and development may change all of that though.
What started off as Lance Armstrong and Apollo 11 landing on the moon, has turned into something so much bigger, only 40 years later. To think that there are trips you can take in to space, and blueprints of an orbiting space hotel really makes you look forward to what kind of possibilities for space travel there could be in the next 40 years to come.
Von Braun, Wernher, and Fredrick I. Ordway III. History of Rocketry and Space Travel. 3rd ed. New Yory: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1834. Print. P. 40-45 Xprize Foundation. http://space. xprize. rg/ansari-x-prize Salkever, Alex. “Dust off the Moon Suit, Honey, It’s Time for a Space Vacation. (cover Story). ” Christian Science Monitor 90. 36 (1998). EBSCO MWCC. Web.