Space Tourism could get underway soon

Planning to vacation outside this planet? We’ve been hearing about space tourism for long and reports suggest that it could soon turn out be a reality, perhaps this year itself. Virgin Galactic headed by Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin are the two companies which could take us beyond this planet. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two had a successful first powered test flight in April. To add to the excitement, Blue Origin had another successful test launch of its New Shepard rocket on April 29th. This is why 2018 is rumoured to be the year of space trips.

The Virgin Galactic journey will begin and end at Spaceport America, the hub for Galactic. The passengers are boarded to SpaceShip Two, a glossy space plane with capacity for six passengers and connected beneath its twin-fuselage mother ship White Knight Two. The mother ship takes off from the runway and reaches an altitude of 35,000 feet. Then SpaceShip Two gets detached from the mother ship and fires towards space at supersonic speed. On making the 62-mile descent, the passengers will have an exquisite zero-gravity sightseeing before strapping up the seatbelts. The space tickets are priced at $2,00,000-2,50,000 and almost 700 people have already signed up for the trip.

The Blue Origin passengers will takeoff from the West Texas launch site. Up to six passengers can fasten into the reclining seats inside the passenger capsule of the New Shepard rocket, which will take them 62 miles up past the Karman line, the official edge of space. The capsule then gets separated from the booster and the passengers will get the chance to float around and view the earth. After four minutes of zero-gravity, they strap back to their seats, re-enter and land under parachutes just a few miles from the launch site. The booster will land separately and freely. The ticket prices aren’t declared yet.

However, still some scepticism is around the space trip plans. The space trip plans are being discussed for some years, the only result being the delays are getting higher. The delay is particularly attributed to Virgin Galactic and they even had a fatality during a test flight in 2014. “This is really happening. They’ve invested massive amounts of their own fortunes, even though it’s a risky gamble. They say the quickest way to become a millionaire in space is to start out as a billionaire. What Branson and Bezos want to do is make it easier for more people to see the curvature of the earth, see the blackness of space, and see the thin blue-greenish hue of the atmosphere and the land below without any boundary lines,” says Christian Davenport, Staff Writer at Washington Post.