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Is Space Tourism Feasible?

A space tourist spent $20 million to fly to the International Space Station in 2001.
It will be some time before tourists will be able to visit other planets.
Space travel on a small scale is already a reality, but much work needs to be done for a larger scale approach.
Article Details
  • Written By: S. Mithra
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Images By: Global Panorama, Stephen Coburn, Pixbox77
  • Last Modified Date: 29 July 2014
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The growing industry of space tourism wants to make it possible for ordinary people to make leisure trips into orbit. For space tourism to be feasible, it must be relatively affordable and safe to the general public. Companies involved with space travel need to construct reusable spacecraft that do not negatively impact the environment with available finances.

Space tourism is already a reality. In 2001, an entrepreneur spent $20 million to take a ship to the International Space Station in association with government science organizations. Therefore, it is already feasible for a few millionaires to accompany astronauts and cosmonauts on their routine visits. Space tourism now seeks to widen the audience to create an independent, commercial enterprise similar to today's cruise ships or luxury airliners.

Many challenges must be overcome before space tourism becomes feasible by offering an extravagant vacation option. One trip might be orbiting the Earth for a few days or visiting a satellite resort destination. Eventually, companies would like to charge around $100,000 in exchange for a weekend trip that has a low risk of injury or death. To do this, they must overcome the public's current perception that space travel is highly specialized, dangerous, and out of reach.

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Several companies are at work to develop reusable, safe crafts with the cooperation of aerospace experts at NASA and airplane engineers. These private commercial developers must secure a great deal of investment, as well as establishing a demand for this service, before reaching their goal.

While space camps already offer people a chance to experience weightlessness, space tourism enchants travelers with the prospect of looking down at Earth from space. Initially, demand for this type of vacation doesn't rely on upscale restaurants, luxurious hotels, or any activity other than peering out of a porthole into the vast, profound emptiness. The experience of weightlessness attracts others. In time, this view of feasible space travel will evolve if demand and investment increases for commercial development and companies have enough reason to sell trips into orbit.

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Discuss this Article

umbra21
Post 3

@MrsPramm - I used to agree with that argument, but I've changed my mind. When you look at something like space technology, it's amazing the kinds of innovations that they've come up with. And they are the kinds of innovations that usually happen through warfare.

Humans just aren't ever going to concentrate on one thing at a time and they are extremely competitive. I'd rather that industries were trying to beat each other at a space race than a weapons development race.

And the innovations they develop help developing countries as well. The water recycling technologies that come from astronaut research can be used to combat bad drinking water. Not to mention that many people who have traveled to space come back with environmentalist leanings because they realize how precious life actually is. I don't think it would do any harm for a few more rich people in the world to experience that.

MrsPramm
Post 2

@browncoat - There are so many other things they could be spending that money on, though. It makes me angry to think of the space race and the millions of dollars spent for every tiny little aspect of a space ship, when there are kids dying of preventable diseases and malnutrition in the world every day.

I don't think it's a complete waste of money, but I do think that they need to get their priorities straight and the space tourism industry shouldn't be one of our priorities.

browncoat
Post 1

It is one of my greatest hopes that I'll live long enough for space travel to become affordable for the average person. I just hope it becomes cheaper before I grow so old that it becomes too dangerous for me to go up there.

Can you imagine being able to travel to the point where you can see the horizon as a curve? Or even to the point where you can see the whole planet spread out before you? Space flight could be so exciting, I just wish they would hurry up and develop it so average people can experience it.

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