Space exploration has taken giant leaps in recent decades, scientific knowledge about the universe and about our ability to reach new frontiers has risen exponentially in less than a century.
Only 60 years ago, the impressive goal of taking a person into space was achieved. Years of research, and multi-billion-dollar experiments, were put together with the goal of proving that humans can survive in space.
Just 6 decades later, humans prepare for new challenges. During those 60 years, we reached the moon and even built an International Space Station that remains in orbit and that has had human inhabitants uninterruptedly for the last 20 years. Now, going back to the moon and colonizing Mars seems to be the next milestones to reach, but there is a third very important project in which impressive amounts of resources and effort are also being invested.
Space tourism appears to be around the corner. It seems that during the next few years we will be able to see the launching of commercial ships out of the planet for the first time. Three companies are the ones that are dedicating the most to this project: SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Blue Origin.
The three companies are building spacecraft that can perform commercial suborbital and orbital flights lasting from a few minutes to a couple of hours.
“Suborbital and orbital tourist flights are currently near to happen” said Robert Goehlich, an adjunct assistant professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide, as quoted by Phys.org.
More than 400 future Virgin Galactic space customers and passengers have already been trained at the National Aerospace Training and Research Center.
The training is quite short and simple, taking into account the fact that the passengers will not need to have much aeronautical knowledge, nor will they have to control the ship at any time.
Training lasts two days, the first of which is a classroom taking instructions and basic knowledge of the risks involved in an adventure of this style and the second day is mostly physical, where the participants will face the centrifuge in a device that rotates them swiftly to experience the pressure of the G-Force.
Travel costs are very high so the first to go to space will be wealthy people. Costs can reach up to $250,000 per person for suborbital flights and millions of dollars for orbital flights.
The first civilian flights are expected to occur during this or next year and we cannot wait to see this and who knows maybe in the near future, we will be one of the lucky ones who can see our beautiful pale blue dot from a distance.