Is Space Tourism Soon to Become a Reality?


With the successful test flight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo (SS2) at the end of April, 2013, we are one step closer to commercial space tourism. This is not orbital tourism, of course, but the ability to fly above 100 km on a short flight to the beginning of space. These tourists will experience weightlessness and view both stars above and the limb of hte Earth on the horizon but it will not quite be the experience many have dreamed of for long. on

These suborbital space voyages will change the dynamic of spacefaring in the world, no doubt, but can it open the door for ever increasing space activities, activities that will ultimately open orbital space to commercial ventures. Sir Richard Branson, the investor who¬†leads Virgin Galactic and its SpaceShipTwo effort believes he sees a way forward. He told the media after SpaceShipTwo’s flight, that it “opens the way for a rapid expansion of the spaceship’s powered flight envelope, with a very realistic goal of full space flight by the year’s end.”

During flights of SpaceShipTwo it is ferried to about 47,000 feet by a mothership, WhiteKnightTwo, which releases the vehicle and its pilots fire a hybrid rocket engine. It then travels to the edge of space before returning for a landing like an aircraft. There are several test flights to be completed before passengers will be allowed aboard, but perhaps 2014 will see the first suborbital space tourism become a reality.

This entry was posted in aeronautics, aviation, Science, Space and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Is Space Tourism Soon to Become a Reality?

  1. Gary Milgrom says:

    While these accomplishments by the private sector are to be encouraged and applauded I cannot see space tourism growing beyond the very wealthy for a long time. Has Virgin published their anticipated fare schedule over time? I’d like to see when flights like these will drop below 10K as I see that as a threshold to mass adoption. Currently you can take a short parabolic weightless flight on a jet for 5K and this business seems robust enough to support 2-3 flights a month. Barring any in-flight accidents, the economics of these flights will solely determine their popularity.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s