Space tourism is closer to becoming a reality than probability. Now that aerospace companies are embarking on a mission to send humans on commercial space flights, we might just be able to witness space tourists travelling around the orbit or even the moon in this lifetime. Curious to know what space tourism is all about? Read on to find out more!
What is space tourism?
Space tourism is human space travel that allows you to explore the wide expanse of space for leisure or business purposes. You won't actually get to land on the moon but there are several space tourism experiences that offer sub-orbital, orbital, and beyond Earth orbit flights.
Who is leading the space tourism race?
Virgin Galactic, Space X, and Blue Origin are leading the space tourism race. According to Business Wire, the global space tourism market is set to reach USD1.7 billion by 2027, so commercial space travel is definitely a possibility!
- Virgin Galactic is the world's first commercial Spaceline that operates space vehicles that provide opportunities for private individuals and researchers to travel into space.
- It was founded by Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and aerospace engineer Burt Rutan
- In March 2021, Virgin Galactic unveiled VSS Imagine, their first SpaceShip III designed with a mirror-like appearance that reflects the surrounding environment and changes appearance when it travels from earth to space.
- In May 2021, Virgin Galactic completes its first human spaceflight from Spaceport America, New Mexico.
- SpaceX is an aerospace company that designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft.
- It was founded by Tesla founder Elon Musk
- Besides transporting astronauts to the International Space Station, SpaceX also offers commercial flights from earth to the lunar orbit.
- SpaceX will be launching a commercial space flight around the moon in 2023. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will be the first space tourist for this moon mission.
- Blue Origin is an aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company.
- It was founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos
- In 2012, Blue Origin unveiled New Shepard, a commercial suborbital launch vehicle that is named after Alan Shepard, the first American astronaut to travel to space.
- The first passengers to onboard New Shepard will be Jeff Bezos and his brother, Mark.
How much does it cost to be a space tourist?
It'll cost a lot! Ketty Maisonrouge, a business school professor paid USD$250,000 for a 5-minute trip on the Virgin Galactic to experience what it's like beyond the earth's atmosphere. Other celebrities like Justin Bieber and Leonardo DiCaprio had also purchased tickets. However, Virgin Galactic's commercial space flight was postponed to 2022 after a series of test flight delays.
In June 2021, Blue Origin auctioned its very first seat on New Shepard for USD$28 million, and the highest bidder will sit alongside Jeff Bezos. New Shepard lets you immerse in an 11-minute space flight experience complete with a window seat. Since the vehicle will be fully autonomous, there will be no pilots onboard - only passengers.
How do I become a space tourist?
The requirements vary from one company to another. If you're boarding Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, there are no age limit except space tourists need to be 18 years and above, as regulated by the United States' Federal Aviation Administration. However, the seat will have an upper weight limit.
After Richard Branson became the first billionaire space company founders to go to space, he announced his partnership with Omaze to give away two seats on one of the first Virgin Galactic Flights to space. Besides living out your astronaut dreams, you will also join Richard Branson on a VIP tour of Spaceport America and a hotel stay. Click here to join the sweepstake contest.
For those who signed up for Blue Origin's New Shepard, space tourists need a one-day training before the flight, which includes vehicle overviews, safety briefings, and mission simulations.
While the realm of space remains a mystery to us all, it's definitely a future we look forward to seeing as space tourism is closer to becoming a reality in our lifetime. Take your dreams to new heights and take a look at how ancient Islamic astronomers and scholars and modern-day Muslim scientists and astronauts have honoured the bewildering and entrancing final frontier.