Elon Musk and; his competitors: 3 companies that are already in; the coming years will begin to deliver tourists to; space

Space tourism today, part 3

Background: why tourists flew into space and then stopped

The first tourist in space was the American millionaire Dennis Tito, who visited the ISS back in 2001. He was followed by six more Americans and one Canadian. All of them, as is typical, flew aboard the Soyuz spacecraft of Roskosmos.

The point is not only in the relatively high safety of the Soyuz (the last loss of life on board this type of ships happened in 1971, and their American alternative, shuttles, in 1986 and 2003). The commercial factor was more important. The launch of a Russian spacecraft cost tens of millions of dollars, so the same Tito paid "only" $ 20 million to get to the orbital station. One launch of American shuttles has already cost $ 1.5 billion: tourists who are rich enough for such transport are too difficult to find.

But since 2009, even Roscosmos has lost the ability to deliver tourists outside the earth's atmosphere. And not through their own fault: this happened due to the curtailment of the shuttle program on the side of the United States. The States abandoned them because of their obvious insecurity for astronauts: during the Space Shuttle program, 14 people died on American space shuttles - several times more than all other spaceflight vehicles combined.

As a result of the US abandonment of shuttles (and NASA does not yet have other manned spacecraft), Russian Soyuz turned out to be the only means of delivering people to the ISS. Because of this, the "extra" places for space tourists in them disappeared - all were occupied by professional astronauts.

And for ten years now, space tourism has simply not been there.

Boeing and Roscosmos

Of course, the United States did not sit idly by - NASA launched a Commercial Crew Development program aimed at creating commercial vehicles for delivering American astronauts to the ISS. One of the participants in this commercial program is Boeing. It is planned that it will deliver people to the station aboard the CST-100 Starliner. The spacecraft is launched into orbit by the Atlas 5 rocket manufactured by the United Launch Alliance (the rocket is the result of a partnership between Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing). The rocket engine is a Russian-made RD-180.

The manufacturer of the CST-100 Starliner has agreed in advance with NASA that it will have the right to carry one tourist with it for one flight to the ISS. The new ship with a mass of 13 tons and a diameter of 4.56 meters is roomy enough for this. If the Soyuz, designed in the 1960s, has only 6.5 cubic meters of sealed living space and can carry only three, then the Starliner has 11 cubic meters and is designed for seven crew members.

The cost of the new service has not yet been announced, but they already indicate that it will be comparable to a similar offer from Roscosmos. Many years have passed since the first flight of Dennis Tito, so the Russian price tag for the cosmoturist has grown: it will be roughly at least $ 60-80 million. Russia, by the way, will also gain access to the space tourism market as soon as an alternative means of delivering people to the ISS appears, and Soyuz will be able to reduce the load of cosmonauts and astronauts, making room for ordinary passengers.

Thus, Roskosmos and Boeing will be able to carry private clients into space approximately at the same time - in 2020 (then the first manned launch of Starliner will take place). The first unmanned launch of the spacecraft will take place on December 20, 2019. If it turns out to be regular, it will be followed by the first manned flight in 2020.

Elon Musk and; his competitors: 3 companies that are already in; the coming years will begin to deliver tourists to; space

Cosmos Agency • Space tourism • Prospects for suborbital space flights as a type of space tourism

From a legal point of view, the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space deals with the definition of suborbital flights.

The Committee has been debating for over 40 years (in relation to Cold War ballistic missiles, test launches, etc.) and there is still no decision. The 100 km limit proposed by the Committee is thus null and void.

From a technical point of view, we prefer this definition: suborbital flight encompasses all space flights that do not reach orbital speed and therefore do not remain in Earth's orbit.

Weather rockets are a typical example. Manned flights to an altitude of about 100 km are very similar: this is a ballistic flight lasting about 3 minutes, with non-hazardous overloads for the body when returning to the atmosphere. Suborbital space flight is short-lived, but passengers will be able to spend some of the most exciting minutes of their lives in zero gravity with an extraordinary view of the Earth, which less than 1,000 people have seen live since the first flight of Yuri Gagarin in 1961.

How it started

In 2004, aircraft designer Burt Rutan demonstrated the successful SpaceShipOne suborbital flight, proving that a small reusable rocket plane could be designed, built and operated by a small private team of enthusiasts. This event had two important results:

  • has shown that the general public is interested in suborbital space travel with people on board
  • has given rise to many followers.

Current situation and main players on the market

Today, many experts are confident that private suborbital flights are not only technically possible, but have also become one of the most investment-attractive business areas. According to a 2017 Bank of America report, "More than $ 16 billion has been invested in space-related startups since 2000."

Despite the fact that Elon Musk's SpaceX remains the most popular name in the news about space, it is far from the only player in the space tourism market ...

While most resorts in the world are closed and on five continents are pondering how to protect tourists from the coronavirus, Roscosmos and NASA are boldly making plans for commercial travel to Earth's orbit, knowing for sure: there is no COVID-19 in space yet. How much can a space tour cost, Dengi asked.

Back in May 2001, Dennis Tito, the first space tourist in history, the founder of the American investment fund Wilshere Associates, completed the journey into Earth's orbit on a Russian spacecraft. Since then, six more lucky ones have visited space as part of Russian crews, but for more than ten years, tourists have not looked at the International Space Station (ISS). And it's not just the high cost: a ten-day orbital flight costs tens of millions of dollars. Until recently, all spaces on spaceships were assigned between professional cosmonauts and astronauts. Now, with the development of private space companies in the United States, the number of vacant seats is increasing and those who like to meet 16 sunrises and sunsets every day will surely increase.

At the end of last year, NASA reported that in the near future, launches of commercial manned reusable spacecraft Crew Dragon and CST-100 Starliner, created by SpaceX and Boeing, could be carried out. Space for one NASA astronaut on board each of the new spacecraft will cost the agency about $ 58 million. How much space will cost for a commercial flight participant is not named. This is the cost of delivery to the ISS. A stay at the station of one astronaut per day is estimated at about $ 35 thousand. "But it will not be with the" stars "of the Hilton and Marriott hotels," jokes NASA CFO Jeff DeWitt.

How space training is going

$ 55 million - the cost of a ten-day flight to the ISS for one tourist was announced by Axiom Space. The company promises to organize the trip this year. Axiom Space, which is building the first commercial residential module for the ISS, plans to create a hotel in orbit that can accommodate up to eight people at a time. The hotel is slated to open in 2022, Axiom Space founder Mike Saffredini told the New York Times.

Axiom Space is an American company that manufactures modules and components for space stations. Founded in 2016 by Mike Saffredini, former head of the ISS program at NASA. The company plans to create the first private international space station.

In turn, SpaceX in March 2020 signed an agreement with Space Adventures to send the Crew Dragon into orbit, which can accommodate up to four tourists. The first flight is scheduled for 2022.

SpaceX is an American company founded in 2002 by inventor, engineer, billionaire Elon Musk. The company develops and manufactures space technology. SpaceX participates in NASA projects. The company has developed and built partially manned reusable spacecraft: the Falcon launch vehicle, the Dragon transport spacecraft and the Dragon V2 passenger ship.

Along with commercial orbital flights into space, it is planned to develop "suborbital tourism". A number of companies, primarily Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, have been announcing suborbital tourist flights for several years. In February 2020, Virgin Galactic announced plans to carry out the first such tourist flight by the end of this year, Interfax reports, the "ticket" will cost from $ 250 thousand

Blue Origin is an American company founded in 2000 by billionaire Jeff Bezos (creator of the Amazon online store). The company is engaged in the development of vehicles for suborbital and orbital flights.

Cosmos Agency • Space tourism • Space tourism today, part 3. Balloon.

Why should a flight into space necessarily be accompanied by jolts and overloads? Is there a way to go slowly into space, have time to admire the views around and at the same time have a snack while drinking wine? In the third part of the article on space tourism, we'll talk about a less extreme way to look down on Earth. Several startups from the US, Spain and China offer serene hot air ballooning into the stratosphere.

Although these companies position flight as space or near-space, it has very little to do with space. The average height to which the balloon with the capsule can rise is 30-40 km. Today we will talk about two companies: World View Enterprises and Zero2Infinity.

We advise you to read the first and second parts of the review: Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace, Rocket Blue Origin

ZeroInfinity

A Spanish startup offers a flight in the “almost spaceship” Bloon for 4 people in the company of 2 pilots at an altitude of 36-40 km. The ship is a balloon capsule that slowly rises for 3 hours. All this time, you can safely move around the capsule, go about your business. It is possible to divide the capsule into two parts for 2 people in each for reasons of privacy and the desire of some people to retire. There is plenty of time to see the views of the Earth, so in order not to get bored of tourists, Zero2Infinity is developing several types of entertainment programs, including lunch delivered from any restaurant with 3 Michelin stars, rental of photo and video equipment, etc.

After 3 hours of flight, having enjoyed the views, the balloon detaches and the ship's landing system takes over. The main part of the system is a parachute, which allows pilots to glide onto a huge soft cushion. If you find yourself farther than the intended landing point, the pillows built into the capsule will work, designed to make the landing as comfortable as possible. There is also a toilet in the capsule.

The flight price is 110,000 €, you can book a flight on the official website.

World View

World View together with its partners Paragon Space Development Corp. provide a 5-6 hour flight in a capsule attached to a balloon filled with helium at an altitude of 30 km. The capsule has room for 6 people, 1 crew member and 1 pilot. After the travelers arrive at the launch site, a team of technicians fills a high-tech balloon with helium and thoroughly checks everything before shipping.

The capsule rises within one and a half to two hours to a height of 30 kilometers, where 99% of the earth's atmosphere remains under you. For 2 hours, you are at peak altitude, enjoying breathtaking panoramas through huge windows. There is a bar on board in case you get bored.

At an altitude of thirty kilometers, winds can reach speeds of 200 km/h, if it will be noticeable in the capsule, then very little. The average distance from the take-off point to the landing point is 300 km (0-600 km). The pilot begins to release helium from the balloon, gradually lowering the ship, then, as in the previous case, the parachute opens, and the balloon flies further. Both companies assure that helium is absolutely safe and does not pollute the environment in any way. The material from which the ball is made is also. The average flight time from takeoff to landing can be 5-6 hours.

Flight price - $ 75,000, you can book on the official website

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