Travel agencies get ready for the boom to travel into space
Since the beginning of the space age, 559 people have traveled to space. The complexity and high cost of a space expedition make it difficult to have regular tourist flights. But thanks to technological advances this could soon change.
In fact, space tourism already exists and so far, 8 people have traveled to the International Space Station (ISS) without being astronauts. The trip is organized by the company Space Adventures and costs more than 20 million euros.
Destination: the moon
But Space Adventures has an even more ambitious plan: in collaboration with Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, wants to take two tourists on a trip around the Moon.
The company Space X, founded by visionary tycoon Elon Musk, is also preparing a program to take tourists into space and contemplate the Moon up close. The trips would be made with the Dragon capsule, which Space X has developed in collaboration with NASA.
A One Day return trip
Other companies offer shorter trips. For instance, Virgin Galactic is preparing a round trip to space for “only” 250,000 euros. This experience will be out in the coming years, but more than 7,000 people have already bought their ticket.
According plans of Virgin Galactic, the ship will fly more than 100 kilometers above the imaginary line that separates Earth from space. Moreover, during the trip, passengers will be able to experience weightlessness for a few minutes.
The VSS Unity, the ship in charge of these routes, is now passing the flight test after the previous model suffering a serious accident during the tests and was discarded in 2014.
Blue Origin, a company created by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has similar plans. In 2015 it surprised everyone when it got his New Shepard rocket to make the first vertical landing. Something that Space X had not achieved yet at the time.
Hotels in Space
Other entrepreneurs, such as hotel tycoon Robert Bigelow, want to go even further and build hotels in space. His idea is to use inflatable modules with buit-in rooms.
One of those modules is now already in space, anchored to the ISS facilities, waiting to pass different tests. For the time being, things like temperature, radiation and humidity are being tested by astronauts to check if it would be possible to stay in them.
Balloon to Space
Spain also takes part in this ‘new space race’. The start-up Barcelona Zero2infinity will soon offer flights in hot air balloons that go up to 40 kilometers altitude, four times higher than airplane.
Althought that height can still not be considered Space, the passenger will be able to see the curvature over the horizon and enjoy spectacular views.