Many consider the growth of space tourism a vulgar show of power and wealth. Billionaires spend their money on space travel to escape the many global crises like climate change or pandemic. After his Tuesday first-ever space tourism flight, Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO said that Amazon employees and customers had paid for the ticket. This only exacerbated criticism.
Bezos, and other superrich, won’t be stopped by critics. Space tourism has become a reality, but only for those who have the means to afford it. It will also have consequences for all of us.
Actually,All indications are that there is a market that’s large enough to continue these trips. Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’s spaceflight business, already has two additional trips planned for later in the year. Virgin Galactic is a space company founded by Richard Branson and has over 600 customers who have paid approximately $250,000 each to purchase future tickets.
As the market for commercial space tourism (literally) begins to take shape, future space travellers and all others on this planet face many big questions. These are the top six questions.
Views are the best part of space travel. Passengers can see our planet from space, as well as the vast unknowns of outer space. Virgin Galactic passengers will travel 53 miles above the sea level. Blue Origin passengers will travel a bit further, approximately 62 miles above the sea level. This is in addition to crossing the Karman Line, which marks the international boundary between Earth, space, and time. The overall experience is very similar on both flights.
This view was created to inspire awe and has even its own name, the Overview Effect. Recode was told by Wendy Whitman Cobb (a professor at US Air Force’s School of Advanced Air and Space Studies). “Seeing Earth that high changes how you view things and how interconnected they are and how much we waste it here on Earth.”
One perk to these space trips is the feeling of microgravity. This is where gravity feels very weak. This will allow them to travel in space without any weight before returning to Earth.
Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic flights, however, are short — approximately 10 and 90 minutes respectively. SpaceX’s other space tourism flights, which were founded by Elon Musk will offer more. Jared Isaacman (billionaire founder of Shift4 Payments) will be the SpaceX pilot for the first all-civilian SpaceX flight, Inspiration4, this fall. The Inspiration4 will orbit the Earth several times. The company plans to launch private missions to orbit around Earth and the International Space Station in the future.
Space geeks long to become astronauts will be able to enjoy these trips. There’s another reason why rich people would want to travel to space. It is because they can show exclusivity and make a statement. A few can afford to travel to Venice and the Maldives. How many are fortunate enough to be able to travel to outer space?
Sridhar Tayur (a Carnegie Mellon Business Professor) told Recode that it was a great way to show off our modern times than to upload a photo on Instagram from space.
Space tourism flights are available from Virgin Galactic or Blue Origin right nowSuborbital space is where flights can reach, but they cannot orbit Earth. This is not an entirely new frontier. Although these flights are using new technology, NASA was able to achieve suborbital flight with human passengers back in 1960s. Matthew Hersch of Harvard Technology History told Recode.
Although it is not certain that these trips will provide scientists with new insight, they could offer information that can be applied in the future to space exploration. These trips can also be marketed as opportunities to conduct scientific experiments. Virgin Galactic’s most recent flight took plants on board and demonstrated how they react to microgravity.
Private companies see potential in commercial vehicles, which can be reused at large, which will enable the same rockets or in the case of Virgin Galactic, the spaceplanes to return to space repeatedly, which reduces overall costs for space tourism.
These rockets are seen by billionaires as a way to make preparations for future flights into space. For example, Bezos has claimed that New Shepard will use its suborbital flight to prepare for the company’s future mission, such as New Glenn, which is designed for orbital space.
At Tuesday’s post launch briefing, Bezos stated that “the fact is the architecture and technology we chose is completely overkill for suborbital tourist missions.” We chose the vertical landing architecture. We did that because it scales. It scales.”
Suborbital spaceflight could lead to new methods of traveling from one location on Earth to the next, in addition to scientific advances. SpaceX has announced that long-haul flights can be cut to 30 minutes using space travel.
It’s unclear at this point just how dangerous space tourism really is.
Space tourism companies have a way of keeping travelers safe. They require training to ensure that those who will be traveling off-Earth are as well prepared as they can.
People can feel intense altitude, and strong G-forces while flying. Recode was told by Glenn King that sustained G-forces can exert a strong force on the body. This could be as high as 6 G for up to 20-30 seconds. It’s quite a time when six people or your weight are pressing on you.
Space tourists may also be subject to radiation. However, this risk will depend on the length of your stay in space. Whitman Cobb says that radiation is a concern, particularly for orbital flights than sub-orbital. Her warning is that tourists who fly in airplanes are exposed to more radiation than they would receive on the ground.
However, there doesn’t appear to be an age limit for who can travel. Blue Origin’s most recent flight featured both the youngest and oldest person ever to travel to space. It was a Dutch teenage of 18 years.Wally Funk, 82 years old pilot.
Commercial space tourism leaders already believe they can support their industry. Bezos suggested Tuesday that the cost of tickets would come down, as it did with high-priced nascent airlines. However, for the moment, the ticket price for Virgin Galactic is in the hundreds of thousands. Spaceflight would be prohibitively expensive for the majority of humanity. However, there is enough wealth to make space tourism economically viable.
Recode was told by Tayur of Carnegie Mellon that if you reduce it to $250,000 the waiting times [to purchase a ticket] would be extremely long.”
Because only a small number of people are allowed to travel on these flights, the carbon emissions can be much worse than for a regular airplane flight. If space tourism is more popular, this pollution may get worse. Virgin Galactic plans to eventually launch 400 such flights each year.
Eloise Marais from the University College London said that the carbon footprint for launching oneself into space with one of these rockets was incredibly large, almost 100 times greater than what you would have if taking a long-haul flight. It’s extremely problematic, if you want to reduce our environmental footprint and be more environmentally responsible.
The effects of these flights on the environment are differentDepending on the fuel used and the amount of energy needed to make that fuel,AndThese factors and others make it hard to predict their impact on the environment. Jeff Bezos, for instance, has claimed that Blue Origin’s liquid hydrogen and oxygen fuel is more beneficial to the environment than other space rivals (technically his flight did not release carbon dioxide), however experts informed Recode that it may still have substantial environmental impacts.
We must also continue to study other potential risks, such as the possible release of soot into the atmosphere that can harm the stratosphere or the ozone. One study in 2010 showed that space tourism flights can release nearly one degree Celsius of soot. Recode was told by Paul Peeters (a professor of tourism sustainability at Breda University. Before you launch this business in space tourism, we need to do more to evaluate those risks.He believes that the environment costs of such a trip are sufficient to not take it.
The oversight of the commercial space sector is currently being done by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Regulating space remains a very small task.
Licenses for launches are a major concern. Space flights must not be in direct contact with other aircraft launched into the skies by humans. A helicopter flew in to the launch zone, and a SpaceX flight was stopped.
With more launches, there’s still a lot to do. The Senate held a hearing on Thursday with representatives of commercial space companies to discuss how they can monitor the increasing amount of space traffic.
The FAA oversees a growing number of spaceports, which are basically airports for spaceflight. They also make sure that there is enough space to allow them to launch safely.
There are many other areas in which the government can step in. Tayur stated that cybersecurity will play an important role in ensuring people aren’t hacked. Recode was told by the FAA that it had participated in the development of national cybersecurity principles, however Congress has not given the FAA a role in examining the cybersecurity in space.
The government may eventually regulate these flights’ environmental impacts, but this is not currently under the FAA’s jurisdiction.
The safety of human passengers onboard these flights is not being vetted by any government agency. Recode was informed by an FAA official that although the agency grants licenses for companies to transport humans into space, it is not actually verifying that such trips are safe. This is the authority Congress will not give to the agency until 2023.
It doesn’t appear that there are many travelers insurance policies available. Whitman Cobb stated that passengers basically agree to waive all rights. “You are acknowledging the risk by taking action now.
Fair warning: If you spend hundreds of thousands on a space joyride, be aware that it is possible to become legally liable.you get hurt.
Publiated at Sun, 25 July 2021 12:57.29 +0000