3 Facts To Consider Before You Sign Up To Go To Space

By Stephen M

Recently, Jeff Bezos and Sir Richard Branson became the first billionaires to travel to the edge of space using their spacecrafts. Along with five other passengers, Sir Branson used a Virgin Galactic rocket plane to fly about 53 miles above Earth. A few days later Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, his brother, and two others flew in a New Shepard capsule from Blue Origin to reach 66 miles above Earth. Does it mean space trips will be limited to the super-rich, or will regular people soon be able to join the pursuit?

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Their trips have reignited the interest, debates, and discussions on the viability of commercial space tourism. A commercial space tourism industry would mean many people could have the chance to visit space. Would you want to join the race? Consider some of the points below before you run to sign up.

The first man to land in Space

The first human to make a space trip was Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. Since then, several astronauts, including private individuals, have made that trip. In April 2001, US engineer Dennis Tito paid about $20 million for a six-day orbit around the Earth in the Russian section of the International Space Station. Before that, he received three months of training. This made him the first paid private citizen to visit space. In 2009, Cirque de Soleil founder Guy Laliberté spent about $35 million to be put in orbit.

Did Branson and Bezos achieve space orbit?

There are varied opinions when it comes to where outer space starts, so what you imagine might not be the reality. That said, both Bezos and Branson did not go into orbit during their space trip. Their flights were suborbital and did not achieve the velocity required for Earth-orbiting. Compared with orbital trips, the suborbital flight is not technically complex and is also cheaper. Even with that, the cost was very high. A flight on the New Shepard flight was around $28 million.

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What if something goes wrong?

Space travel comes with its risks and dangers. The 2003 Columbia and 1986 Challenger shuttle disasters are there to learn from. As experts, inventors, and financiers work hand-in-hand to make commercial space tourism possible, the risk factors become even more glaring. Commercial space trips will require the highest safety measure to reduce accidents. Companies that would venture into such space should also bear responsibility and liability in case of accidents. Currently, the 1972 UN Liability Convention states no space tourist or family members can claim compensation when collisions occur.