Space Travel for Civilians

While the thrill of watching an astronaut launch into space can be a fun and exciting one, did you ever think that it would be possible for you to actually go to space yourself? There is a new era that is dawning, the era of Space Tourism. Starting as soon as 2022, companies such as SpaceX and other commercial space companies, are aiming to send private citizens up to space with the intention of enabling them to take a trip around the Earth. Historically, it has been possible for civilians to take trips to locations such as the International Space Station. This was made possible via the utilization of the Soyuz spacecraft. While the International Space Station is predominantly for science and engineering activities, it will one day be possible to take short duration flights around Lower Earth Orbit  and beyond, as a civilian.

Factors to Consider in Civilian Space Flight

While space travel is an amazing feat, one of the things that must be stated about the endeavor is the fact that some of the activities such as lift off and landing do have implications on the health of the individual. Astronauts train for many years in order to get their bodies in shape for the space missions. They are regularly monitored by their flight surgeons before, during and after the space flight. During a space mission, astronauts actually do have to work out for two hours per day, in order to ensure that their muscles don’t atrophy in the zero gravity of space. Any endeavours outside of the Earth that are extensive, will require some efforts to preserve the bodies of the individuals while they are away. So while space tourists won’t be in space for long durations, they’ll have to be physically ready for the G-loads that astronauts have to experience as the rocket takes off and lands.

As a start, during lift off, the rocket is overcoming the gravitational field and requires massive thrust in order to overcome dynamic pressures induced by the atmosphere. This takes place over an eight minute span, and induces lots of physical stresses on the backs of the astronauts. Essentially, the current designs of Space craft such as Dragon, is actually designed in a manner that ensures that the astronauts are positioned in a way that minimises the stresses on the body.

Likewise, during landing, the opposite effects are taking place, and appropriate bracing positions must be factored into play. It will be important to keep still during the take off and landing to preserve the oral system as well. Physical considerations must always be factored into the equation.

Safety always comes first in anything that you do. In addition to the physical stresses endured during lift off and landing, critical to the mission to space will be the pricing of the mission. One of the reasons that programs like the Commercial Crew Missions exist, is because the cost of transporting astronauts to places like the International Space Center costs approximately $80 million per astronaut. In the previous eras where rockets were not reusable, the costing was an issue. Currently, we live in a time where reusability of rockets is on the increase, and like the ability to fly on planes, we as civilians will be able to affordably fly on rockets.

There is an innovation curve that we need to factor into the equation however. This curve is one that we currently in the initial phases of. As a result, the first tickets to space will be on the higher end. For those who are young enough, you might want to wait a couple decades for the prices to come down. Essentially, if you’re healthy enough, you can start planning from now to go on a family vacation to space.

Who Is Planning The Civilian Space Trip

The organization Space Adventures has pioneered the missions to space, and while the current costing is still being investigated, for those who are willing to pay the price the preparations will be made accordingly. The civilians will be able to travel aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, and orbit the Earth at approximately 750 miles above the Earth. The Dragon Capsule with the capability to fulfill these mission requirements is currently being tested.

As the recent success of the Commercial Crew Missions by NASA have come to fruition, it will be possible for the transition to civilian crew flights. Look out for this in the years to come. As an originator SpaceX always dominates current commercial activities, they deserve their success. From the European side Virgin Galactic is also poised to be next in the commercial crew activities. They are currently building their space tourism sites in locations close to the United States. Zero gravity is taking on a new perspective. The next space traveller, could be you.