August 1, 2021
COMMERCIAL SPACE FLIGHTs – A DREAM COME TRUE
A walk in outer space is a dream of every person, regardless of age. Until the first moon landing in 1969, this vision seemed unattainable. However, technological progress has changed our perception of space flights, opening up to… civilians. We have entered a new era of the conquest of outer space. Soon also people who are not experienced astronauts will get the opportunity to go on a short trip over the globe.
What is commercial space flight?
The word “commercial” is not accidental here. It means that it gives “green light” to civilians who do not have the experience of professional astronauts. There is a catch – this type of space tourism is quite a cost, buying a “ticket” is associated with a very high cost, so at present only the richest can afford space travel.
Who deals with space tourism?
Contrary to appearances, not only Americans are involved in space tourism, although this is where the most space ports are located. The industry that powers commercial space travel is concentrated around locations such as:
• New Mexico,
• Esrange (Sweden),
• United Arab Emirates.
To popularize commercial space flights, some companies are offering customers more accessible suborbital flights.
What does a sub-orbital flight look like? A trip, or more like a cruise, involves launching a suborbital vehicle over the Earth’s surface, which, at an altitude of 100 to 160 kilometers above the Earth, “orbits” the Earth for several hours. During this time, the passengers:
• experience a state of weightlessness for a short time, from 3 to 6 minutes,
• they can look at the stars (at this altitude there is no phenomenon of flickering non-heavenly spheres),
• have the opportunity to admire the curvature of the Earth.
Why is commercial flight popular?
For the simple reason – finance. Currently, space flights are not cheap, even “expensive” is an understatement. Hence the dissemination of the possibility of sub-orbital travel, which gives a foretaste of what can be experienced during a several-day “trip” in space. Sub-orbital flights cost around $ 200,000 a flight, which is a small percentage of the larger venture into space.
What is SpaceX and what should you know about it?
SpaceX (more specifically Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) is an American space industry company. The company was founded in 2002, and its founder is the famous billionaire Elon Musk. The main task of the corporation is the construction of rocket engines, as well as launch rockets and spacecraft, including commercial ones.
Elon Musk has always dreamed of exploring Mars. He believes that our time on Earth is entering its final phase and coming to an end. Environmental degradation, climate change, overpopulation – all this means that in the near future we will run out of space and resources. Hence the idea to colonize Mars – Musk wants to create a self-sufficient “city of the future” there. At the moment, however, this vision is quite difficult to achieve due to the very high cost of space travel.
Popularization of space tourism can significantly affect the price of space flights, reducing it, according to Musk, even a thousand times compared to today’s costs.
Thus, space travel will also be achievable for mere mortals. By “ordinary”, we still mean wealthy people who are not astronauts.
SpaceX and the first commercial space flight
In May 2020, SpaceX made a private flight into space with a crew. Tickets for 4 people were bought by billionaire Jared Isaacman – 37-year-old founder of the Shift4 company (handling payment transactions, and also the creator of the jet pilot training center for the military). The mission was called Inspiration4.
How does such a flight look like? A rocket must be launched to take off. In the case of the Inspiratio4 mission, it was decided to travel on a Falcon 9 rocket, which was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The Dragon spacecraft then carried the space tourists into orbit.
A space tourist – who is he?
According to Musk, a candidate for a space trip should be an adult (18 years or older) and have the status of a US citizen. Of course, as part of the preparations, amateur astronauts are also checked their general health to prevent unauthorized persons from flying. During the flight you will experience weightlessness and be subjected to various pressures, which will not be an easy experience for everyone.
People who buy tickets for a flight into space are called space tourists. However, according to many, this term is not entirely accurate, for some it is even derogatory. Especially for the first civilian travelers who conducted numerous research and experiments during their flights.
There were many ideas, incl. “Private space conqueror”. Finally, the term “participant in space flight” is an increasingly common nomenclature used during commercial flights into space.