Space Tourism: How Soon Until You Can Vacation in Space?
Earlier this month NASA announced the nine astronauts who will be the first crew to test the new commercial spacecraft created by The Bowing Company and SpaceX. The crew will begin their voyage in 2019 to the International Space Station on the on Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Dragon. The mission will be a significant milestone considering it will be the first time a crew has launched from U.S. soil since the space shuttle program ended in 2011.
Director of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and former astronaut believes that this is an exciting time for human spaceflight. He urges that space travel will only get better in the future.
This project has been in the works for quite some time. Both Boeing and SpaceX first collaborated with Nasa in the hopes to become less dependent on the Russian Soyuz flights to the International Space Station.
But what started as a mission to gain more independence has now attracted tourism companies. Tourism companies what to use commercial spacecraft like the Starliner and Dragon to take tourists to the moon and back (literally).
But how soon can we pack out bags and get on a spacecraft? Unfortunately, it won’t be any time soon. Space travel still has a couple of issues to work out, including a hefty price tag and technical issues. Back in 2001, the first tourist purchased a $20 million ticket to space, which is worth more than a lifetime of vacations.
In regards to technical issues, spacecraft crashes are still probable. In 2014, space tourism company Virgin Galatic suffered a colossal crash resulting in the death of one pilot and severe injuries of the other pilot. Even though this ignited skepticism, Virgin Galactic still has a waitlist a mile long.
Like Virgin Galatic, other companies are eager to get space tourism up and running. Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft has captured the attention of Bigelow Aerospace, who plans to create an inflatable space station for tourists. Other companies such as Axiom Space and Orion Span want to capitalize on space tourism. Axiom Space hopes to create their own space station, and Orion Span has of building their own luxury hotel that sits in orbit.
While Space Tourism isn’t going to be an industry that forms overnight, future advancements in commercial space travel will make vacationing amongst the stars a reality in only a matter of time.