To see our planet from space, it is not at all necessary to become an astronaut. Nowadays, space tourism is a whole industry, which, although it cannot boast of its mass character, nevertheless has excellent development prospects in the near future. If the Russian segment of the ISS has been receiving space tourists since 2001, the American part of the station has just announced such a possibility.
The ISS, like other orbital stations of the past and present, does not have the conditions for comfortable accommodation of tourists. Therefore, in 2010, the project of the "Commercial Space Station" was born in Russia, which was supposed to become the first hotel in Orbit. In 2011, its large-scale model was even shown at the MAKS air show. However, for financial reasons, the project was never implemented.
A similar project, and much more successful, exists in the United States. Bigelow Aerospace, founded by entrepreneur and hotelier Robert Bigelow, sets itself quite ambitious goals, including the opening of a space hotel on the lunar surface. Now the company's baggage includes successful launches of prototypes of Genesis I and II space hotels. As a promotional campaign to promote their services, Bigelow Aerospace held the Fly your stuff campaign, thanks to which anyone could send an item into space for less than $ 300.
Today there are two ways to visit space as a tourist. The first and more accessible, if this word can be applied to space travel, is to use the services of one of the private companies. Private astronautics offers suborbital flights, which cost about $ 250,000. In this case, the spacecraft is not launched into Earth's orbit, but reaches an altitude of more than 100 km, which is officially considered the boundary of outer space.
The second way is big astronautics. Today the opportunity to make an orbital flight as part of a real space crew is provided by both Roscosmos and NASA. At the same time, the price of a space flight can reach several tens of millions of dollars. In addition to simply ascending into orbit, you can take a vacation aboard the International Space Station. So, the state corporation Roscosmos has been sending tourists to the ISS since 2001. To date, 7 people have been on board the Russian segment of the station, among whom, however, there was not a single Russian.
The first person to enter space as a tourist was to be Christa McAuliffe, a teacher from the United States. However, she died, as did the entire crew of the Challenger shuttle, which crashed in 1986. After this incident, space flights for non-professional astronauts were banned in the United States for several years. In the end, the first space tourist in history was a journalist from Japan, Toehiro Akiyama, who flew to the Mir station in 1990.
Today, when tourist flights into orbit have become, if not commonplace, then an event that does not cause surprise, space companies are looking for new ways to attract potential customers. Very soon the list of services will be supplemented with the possibility of going into outer space. This will require additional preparation from the tourist, as well as an additional 15 million dollars to the cost of the trip.
In contrast to conventional tourism, space travel is not just enough desire and the required amount of money. A prerequisite is good health and time to prepare for the flight. Preparatory activities can take up to six months.
NASA will soon join the tourist missions to the ISS after Roscosmos. More recently, the US space agency announced the start of tourist flights to its segment of the station:
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