Interstellar travel is much more real than you think

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The first space tourists

"A person will endure any hardships of space travel, except, perhaps, their cost," - wittily remarked American physicist Lee Dubridge.

Space tourism is a new form of tourism. But so far it is very expensive, as it is paid for from private funds.

The idea of ​​space tourism appeared a long time ago, after several years of space exploration. But, of course, at that time it seemed unrealistic - there were many questions related to the study of space, many unsolved problems. Space tourism began to develop actively at the end of the 20th century.

The first space tourist was supposed to be the American teacher Christy McAuliffe. But she died in the 1986 launch of the Challenger shuttle.

In 1990, journalist Toyohiro Akiyama went into space as a tourist. On the Soyuz TM-11 spacecraft with a crew of V. Afanasyev and M. Manarov, he flew to the Mir space station under a privately funded non-state project of the TBS television company. True, not everyone considers Akiyama to be an absolute tourist, since his flight was a business trip into orbit - the Japanese TV company sent its journalist to the Mir station. But the American millionaire Dennis Tito, who went into space on April 28, 2001 on the Russian spacecraft Soyuz TM-32 with cosmonauts T. Musabaev and Y. Baturin, was the first space tourist.

We will tell you about them today.

Toyhiro Akiyama and his flight

He was the very first Japanese to fly into space, the first journalist and the first space tourist, considering the fact that he was not only a professional astronaut, but even a pilot.

Toyohiro Akiyama was born in 1942 in Tokyo. Graduated from the Faculty of Social Sciences of the International Christian University in Tokyo. He worked for TBS Television and Radio Corporation in Tokyo and London, senior editor and commentator for international news programs at TBS, Director of the TBS Correspondence Bureau in Washington.

School Encyclopedia

How much are you willing to pay to become an astronaut? companies are almost ready to launch

On April 28, 2001, 60-year-old American businessman Dennis Tito became the first tourist to leave the Earth's atmosphere after spending almost 8 days in space aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and paid for this $ 20 million. Despite objections from NASA, which believed that preparing Tito for the flight would not be enough (Tito himself believes that they were most likely worried about his age), the travel company Space Adventures made a deal with the Russian agency Roscosmos, which provided Tito with a seat on the Soyuz spacecraft.

Since then, six other space tourists have visited the ISS on board the Soyuz spacecraft. The latter, Cirque du Soleil co-founder Guy Laliberté, flew in in 2009. The end of this early era of space tourism came with a doubling of the crew size aboard the ISS in 2009, which left no room for visitors to the station, and the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011, which meant that NASA needed all the additional space for launch their astronauts.

But the seven space tourists won't be the last. Numerous private companies intend to launch their own space tourism programs. You've probably heard of the biggest players in private spaceflight: Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic resumed testing its SpaceShipTwo in early April after a fatal test in 2014, and Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos's private space venture, is set to send crews into space this time. year.

And, in addition to these big players, there are quite a few other companies offering tourists the chance to experience outer space. Some of them are ahead of others in development and there is always reason to be skeptical about space tourism. We have seen how many of these enterprises have come and gone over the years before going into space. But let's be optimists. Here are the very latest commercial space programs that offer to get you into space for a price.

Orion Span

In early April, Orion Span announced its plans for the Aurora Station, introducing it as the world's first luxury space hotel. Construction of the station in space is slated to begin in 2021 using the company's proprietary technology and construction methodology (though which rocket systems they will use to launch the materials is not yet clear). The station will have two private suites for a total of four guests and two crew members. Guests will need to complete a training program before being sent into orbit.

According to Orion Span CEO Frank Bunger, to prepare travelers for a visit to the space station, a traditional 24-month training program was taken as a basis, which was reduced to three months.

The first phase of the certification program happens online, making space travel easier than ever. The next part will take place at the state-of-the-art Orion Span training facility in Houston, Texas. Final certification is completed during the traveler's stay at Aurora Station.

In order to actually send guests to the Aurora station, the company would like to partner with SpaceX in space launches.

Participation in the program will cost guests $ 9.5 million per person for a 12-day mission, making it one of the most “affordable” ways to temporarily reside in space.

Historically, early space tourists paid between $ 20 million and $ 50 million to stay aboard the ISS.

“Our long-term goal is to continue to reduce these costs so that space is more accessible to more people,” Bunger said.

500 years ago, Europeans discovered the New World and went all out to colonize it. And it was incredibly difficult - most of the colonists died of hunger and disease, and they started talking about tourism only by the 19th century.

Space is different. Yes, although it is dangerous to visit it, we still have the technologies necessary to ensure the safety of space tourists. And although we will hardly be able in this century to fly to Europa or Titan (the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, where there may be life) or visit other stars (not to mention other galaxies), we will still be able to visit not only on Earth.

Since 2001, 7 people (one of them twice) have become the first space tourists in history, having visited the ISS. Each of the vouchers cost from $ 20 million to $ 35 million (about 1. billion rubles) - not sickly price, isn't it?

We can say that ordinary people cannot afford to fly into space - and this is true, but only now. Remember: the first computers, phones, smartphones were bought only by rich people, because only they could afford them. Today, almost every person has computers and smartphones. Needless to say, in the same way, not only billionaires, but also ordinary people will become space tourists?

So, who will take us off Earth?

Flight from space to Earth - Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic

Blue Origin is a company that is not known to everyone, but which has gigantic plans. It was founded by Jeff Bezos, the creator of Amazon (now the richest man in the world). She is developing rocket engines and test flights and has already announced flights to Earth from space!

It will look like this: 6 people will be placed in a 15-cubic meter capsule, then it will be delivered to a height of 100 km and released - the platform will slowly descend by parachute, and at this time tourists will be able to admire the beauty of the Earth. All this will cost in the region of 100-200 thousand dollars, the launch date and flight time are unknown

But not only Blue Origin will send the future tourist into space. Virgin Galactic, which is part of the Virgin Group network of companies, is engaged in space tourism and came closest to this. At least she is already accepting applications for future flights.

The company launches the future tourist into space on the VSS Unity module-ship, which in turn is launched using the reusable WhiteKnightTwo spacecraft. As soon as the tourist enters space, the module is detached and slowly lowered to Earth. Weightlessness, many beautiful photographs and breathtaking await those who are willing to pay $ 250,000. And we need to hurry - there are already 700 applications!

Orion Span is a real space hotel

In 2022, we will be able to see a landmark event - Orion Span is going to open a luxury hotel right in Earth orbit. Four lucky ones and two crew members will stay in luxurious rooms with views of the Earth for 12 days. The tour cost is $ 9. million, and the initial deposit is $ 80 thousand. Also included is a three-month flight preparation. A smart offer, don't you think? :)

Cosmos Agency • Space tourism • Interstellar travel is much more real than you think

Milner, Hawking and Zuckerberg

The expression “Fly to the Moon”, for most of us, evokes associations on the brink of fantasy, comparable only to projects like Apollo 11 (Apollo 11) to deliver a person to the surface of the Moon. The Breakthrough Starshot Initiative takes us far beyond the limits of the moon, as its goal is to travel to the nearest solar systems.

The use of artificial intelligence automation will accelerate the discovery of such materials. The essence of automation is that the machine will be able to generate a library of tens of thousands of materials for testing. This will make it much easier for engineers to select the best options for research and development.


Even though Starchip will use a tiny nuclear-powered radioisotope battery for the 24-year journey, we'll still need regular chemical batteries for the lasers. Lasers will consume huge amounts of energy in a short amount of time, which means that the power must be stored as close as possible.

Battery capacity is growing by an average of 5-8% per year; we often do not notice this, because the energy consumption of gadgets grows proportionally, leaving the overall service life the same. If the dynamics of battery improvement continues, in 20 years they should have an increase of 3-5 times their current capacity. These expectations rely on the innovation of Tesla-Solar City (Tesla-Solar City) from investments in battery technology. Companies in Kauai have already installed about 55,000 batteries to power much of their infrastructure.


Thousands of powerful lasers will be used to accelerate the sail to light speeds.

Laser technology obeyed Moore's Law at the same speed as integrated circuits, cutting the cost-to-power ratio in half every 18 months. In particular, the last decade has seen a dramatic leap in power scaling for diode and fiber lasers, the former being able to squeeze 10 kilowatts out of single-mode fiber in 2010 and 100 kilowatts a month later. Along with conventional power, we also need to improve the technology for combining phased array lasers.

Speed ​​

Our ability to move quickly, moved quickly ... In 1804, the first steam locomotive was invented, developing an unprecedented speed of 110 km/h. The spacecraft "Helios 2" broke this record in 1976, moving away from the Earth at a speed of 356,040 km/h. 40 years later, the New Horizons spacecraft has reached a heliocentric speed of almost 45 km/s or 160,000 km/h. But even at these speeds, it will take a very long time to reach Alpha Centauri, more than four light years away.

Cosmos Agency • Space tourism • "Two space tourists will fly around the Moon on a SpaceX spaceship in 2019" - Elon Musk

Musk is flying around the moon

SpaceX will send a manned rocket with two space tourists around the moon in 2018, the company's CEO Elon Musk announced on Monday 27 February.

This is the first deep space flight in 45 years, according to the company's press release, this flight "will be faster and farther" of all the previous ones.

SpaceX is planning a mission for mid to late 2018 after sending NASA's Dragon 2 manned spacecraft to the ISS.

“We were approached by individuals,” says Musk, “this is a private mission and clients pay for it”

"We were approached by 2 individuals," says Musk, "this is a private mission and clients pay for it." These people have already made a "significant amount - a deposit". The company does not yet have the right to disclose the names of future space tourists.

Musk also called private space travel "a significant source of income," clarifying that 1-2 launches per year could amount to 10-20% of the profit.

The mission will involve the SpaceX Dragon 2 capsule, which is being modified for deep space conditions. The launch vehicle will be SpaceX Falcon Heavy, the first launch of which is scheduled for summer 2017.

The head of SpaceX also turned to NASA, inviting them to take advantage of such flights: “NASA is always a priority. If they decide that there should be NASA astronauts first, then they will of course fly first. "

The cost of such travel is approximately equal to the launch of a rocket that delivers astronauts to the ISS

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