The first space flight with only civilians on board will take off this year. Has the era of private trips out of the atmosphere really arrived? It’s like in aviation: first the pioneers, then the wealthy, then the tourists. Give it another generation.
Few things are as conditional as a date in space travel. But in principle, nothing should stand in the way of a historic manned mission this year. In October, and if all goes well in September, Inspiration4, a flight with four Americans on board, none of whom are astronauts, will depart. That never happened before.
The crew of Inspiration4
The crew consists of 38-year-old billionaire Jared Isaacman, who pays an undisclosed amount for the trip, and three others. Isaacman invited a 29-year-old woman who survived cancer and now works at the children’s hospital in Memphis, a patient. Like a modern Willy Wonka, he gave a 41-year-old engineer a ticket via a raffle, the proceeds of which – more than 100 million dollars – went to the same hospital. After a competition, he chose his third travel companion, a 51-year-old black woman, for entrepreneurs who use his payment platform Shift4Payments.
Isaacman chartered the trip with SpaceX, the company of Elon Musk that tries like no other to bring the future dream of routine space flights closer. The four will each get a seat in the Crew Dragon capsule, which will be equipped with a panoramic windshield for the occasion, and will be launched on a Falcon 9, the rocket that can land camera-like vertically and then return to service. The intention is that they rotate around the earth at 16 777 miles per hour at an altitude of 335 miles for at least two days and carry out experiments during the orbital trip. Tourist or not: space has to be worked.
Ordinary citizens travelling to space in private company gear: Believers see Inspiration4, which launched a commercial at the Super Bowl, as the birth of an era. “That kind of trip inspires, just because of the crew composition, and gives the industry a boost,” said Nancy Vermeulen, space entrepreneur, former astronaut aspiring astronaut and author of the book “Everyone Spaceman” that appeared this week.
Other upcoming private space travel ventures
There is more. In early 2022, the Houston-based space company Axiom Space will also use a SpaceX rocket to drop one ex-astronaut and three paying passengers at the International Space Station (ISS), which hovers 254 miles above the planet. The three men, wealthy entrepreneurs, each pay 66 million dollars for the exclusive trip and would stay on board for eight days. It has long been speculated that actor Tom Cruise would fly along for the filming of the latest “Mission Impossible” film, but that will not happen for the time being.
And in two years at the earliest, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa wants to fly a heavier SpaceX Starship rocket all the way around the moon and back, equaling the record distance a human has travelled in space so far. The mission was christened #dearMoon, and Maezawa is looking for another eight or so fellow passengers. There is also a reality show in the making, “Space Hero”, the winner of which will be allowed to go into space and to which NASA has fully cooperated.
Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin’s suborbital flights
Two companies founded by Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin respectively, are conducting test flights for suborbital space tourism. Despite multiple delays, they plan to transport their first tourists before the end of this year. Space tourism has been around since 1964 when Pan Am offered the public the chance to book a space on a shuttle to the moon. 20 years ago, American entrepreneur Dennis Tito became the first real tourist to go into space, paying $20 million for a seat on a Russian Soyuz to the ISS. If you’re interested in sustainable approaches to making the world a better place, check out “Regenerative Agriculture: A Sustainable Approach to Farming” on the same website. It explores how regenerative agriculture can create a sustainable food system while promoting healthy soil, biodiversity, and ecosystem services.
Space tourism moving forward in waves
“Space tourism is moving forward in shocks,” said Laura Forczyk, analytical space consultant, based in Atlanta, United States. Tito and co., According to Forczyk, that was the first wave. The second wave is now on its way with Inspiration4 and its diverse crew. “In the coming years, we hope to see another wave as Virgin and Blue Origin’s suborbital flights really take off. Those kinds of flights promise to be cheaper and more frequent so that more people than ever before can fly to space. There is a market for it, the only question is how big it is.”
Swiss investment bank UBS recently calculated an answer: $ 3 billion by 2030. According to UBS analysts, space tourism is in its infancy but will become mainstream if the technology proves itself and costs fall. 3 billion is peanuts compared to the total space business of 400 billion dollars, but tourism can play a role that goes beyond the realization of a childhood dream of rich men who have read a lot of science fiction in the past. Froehlich: “In the long run, orbital tourist flights will help lower launch costs, including for scientific exploration missions, as it increases the demand for reusable missiles.”
“It has to be done in steps and you can’t skip any,” says Vermeulen. “That’s how it was in aviation: first the pioneers, then the wealthy, then the tourists. Low Earth Orbit, the low orbits around the Earth up to 1200 miles, is now familiar territory and so for that distance, the next phase follows the super-rich. Give it time, maybe a generation, but it will come. “
Private spaceflight taking off with non-astronauts on board
Then Virgin Galactic takes a different approach, technologically and in marketing. Sir Richard Branson’s aerospace company is launching its spacecraft, the third generation of which was unveiled at the end of March, from the air. The craft is lifted to 10 miles on the wings of mothership WhiteKnightTwo, after which it detaches and turns on its rocket engine to cover the rest and then lands like an aeroplane. Virgin Galactic is also pioneering the stock market. Long before the hype, it travelled via a SPAC to Wall Street in 2019, where the course has been erratic ever since. Recently, 70-year-old Branson sold shares for $ 150 million to stop corona losses at his other companies.
In 2014, a crash in which a pilot died caused damage to Virgin Galactic. However, the company already has customers waiting in line, having sold around 700 tickets at a price of $200,000 each. The price has since risen to $250,000. Branson himself is expected to complete the last test flight, possibly this summer, before the company begins taking tourists. In addition to the wealthy, Virgin Galactic is also preparing regular training in a simulator for passengers from all walks of life. “You can be very cynical about space travel and interplanetary life, I was partly that in the beginning. But the more I discover the technology, the more I talk to knowledgeable people, the more I know about it, the more convinced I am that it can be done. And the more I am convinced of the usefulness for humanity.”
In conclusion, traveling can be an enriching and rewarding experience that allows us to learn about different cultures, gain new perspectives, and create lifelong memories. While there may be challenges and risks associated with travel, proper preparation and caution can help mitigate these factors. Whether you’re traveling for leisure, business, or education, it’s important to approach your trip with an open mind and a willingness to embrace new experiences. By doing so, you can broaden your horizons, expand your knowledge, and develop a greater appreciation for the diversity of the world we live in.
Although seemingly unrelated, the concept of sustainability and innovation is at the core of both space tourism and regenerative agriculture. Just as space tourism represents a new frontier for travel and exploration, regenerative agriculture offers a new way of thinking about how we cultivate and care for our land. Both industries require us to question the status quo and think creatively about how we can make positive changes for our future. The article on Regenerative Agriculture: A Sustainable Approach to Farming delves deeper into how regenerative agriculture practices can help combat climate change and ensure a healthier planet for future generations. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can make sustainable changes in our daily lives, this article is a must-read.