Are you unsure of where to go the next time you pack your bags and take a vacation? Have you traveled the world and are looking for something new? Maybe you want to participate in something very few people have ever been privileged enough to experience.
Credit: freedigitalphotos.net chrisroll
In the not-too-distant past, space exploration was a thing of wonder, mystery, and a project left to scientists, astronauts and physicists. True, much of it still is, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t be part of discovering “the final frontier.”
Regardless of the reason, orbiting Earth or spending time on the moon isn’t so far-fetched anymore; now it’s just your dream waiting to come true.
Granted, those who pay to go to space hand over quite a hefty price, but with technology accelerating and becoming more and more accessible, who’s to say what the future holds? What once was an exclusive opportunity for a handful of experts has recently been extended to a wider populace, and now people can reclaim their childhood fantasy and be part of the ever-expanding future by taking a vacation into space.
There is more than one flight company offering up a “spacecation.” Depending on the company, travelers will be paying $100,000 to about $35 million. Safety precautions, too, can be of considerable concern, as vacations to outer space include the grueling G-force training needed prior to the space flight itself, which may take up to six months, depending on the mission.
Preparation includes medical testing, instruction in space navigation, and training in the Sokol space suit, centrifuge simulator, and buoyancy tank, among others. Anti-gravity is not for the weak of heart, so travelers will need to be physically fit in order to participate in this type of vacation. For around $90,000, those interested can experience the training without taking that giant leap into the outer reaches of the atmosphere, a luxury stay in the city of Moscow included.
Space Adventures: Space Tourism Flights
One company that offers such an experience is Space Adventures, and they are the only company known to currently be providing space tourism flights. They presently offer four exciting opportunities to experience life in space—Lunar Mission, Orbital Spaceflight, Suborbital Spaceflight, and Zero Gravity Flights.
The Lunar Mission will take passengers into space aboard a Soyuz spacecraft, where they will watch a breathtaking “earthrise” as they circumnavigate the moon. The details of this mission are still in the works, so exact prices have not yet been released, but participants can expect to write quite a few zeroes on their check.
For $20 million, the Orbital Spaceflight sends passengers off to the International Space Station, following the footsteps of previous client Charles Simonyi—a computer software executive—and others. Space Adventures has plans to add a spacewalk to the orbital repertoire, giving their customers the opportunity to step out of the space station and make history, for an added price of $15 million.
The Suborbital Spaceflight is the chance to experience space without traveling all the way to the moon or the International Space Station. Starting at $110,000, the spacecraft will take participants 10 times higher than the altitude of a standard aircraft carrier, where they will be able to see the curvature of the earth from a dazzling point of view.
If someone is fascinated by the idea of a space vacation, but the thought of being hundreds of miles above the earth is an environment a little too extreme for them to envision themselves, Space Adventures also provides the opportunity for them to take part in a Zero Gravity Flight. Participants float weightless in a Boeing 727, without ever leaving the planet. This opportunity costs about $5,000 per person, and private charters can be booked for up to 36 people.
Virgin Galactic and SpaceX
Virgin Galactic and SpaceX are two other companies that will offer private flights into space, but neither are currently sending clients up.
Virgin Galactic is accepting bookings, and those interested can expect to take flight in the next few years. Taking flight with Virgin Galactic is $250,000. To book a flight visit the company’s website.
SpaceX is the first commercial aircraft to ever “successfully attach to the International Space Station,” according to the company’s website. As recently as March 26, the Dragon, a SpaceX shuttle, returned from supplying the space station. With these advancements, SpaceX will continue to work toward offering clients flights into space.
“SpaceX was founded with the goal of helping make the human race a multi-planetary species,” according to the company’s website. “With the support of NASA, our customers and many others, we remain firmly committed to this goal and will do everything within our power to help make this happen.”
While private space tours might still sound unbelievable and unrealistic to most of us, it is important to remember that the future is constantly bringing us closer to discovery, and achievement is something every one of us deserves. With your own private flight into space, you not only have the opportunity to watch history happen around you, but to be a part of it.
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