The first mission with civilians, Inspiration4 by SpaceX, and the flight of Jeff Bezos, his brother and a third person still unknown with Blue Origin open the doors to space tourism. We already knew that the private space race was well under way, in part thanks to NASA’s help to privatize the space flight industry. But now we can practically smell it. Although tickets to space are still expensive for ordinary mortals. However, dreaming is free and think about what we would need to be able to be space tourists, too. Can anyone go to space? What is the training needed to go to space? And above all, how much does it cost to feel weightless?
Yet there is no single criterion to answer all these questions. However, as curiosity is intrinsic to the human being, we will try to give an answer to each of them. Although it must be taken into account that all this could change in the future; when space travel is democratized and space tourism becomes more affordable.
Can anyone go to space?
To find out who can go to space, we will look at the two calls we have talked about: SpaceX and Blue Origin. Because yes, despite being the result of two auctions, the physical and psychological conditions of the participants must be taken into account.
To begin with, as the Washington Post points out, the Blue Origin call asks participants for several things. First, let them be able to withstand the force of gravity when launching and descending. To do this, they calculate that the ascent is about three times the force of gravity in two minutes. On the contrary, for the landing, which lasts just a few seconds, they are about five times the force of gravity. And for that you have to be prepared, not everyone can take it. The second thing they ask is that, on a physical level, they have to be people who measure between 150 and 180 centimeters and weigh between 49.8 and 101.1 kilos. With these two measures, a good part of society can now go into space.
On the other hand, from SpaceX they asked for Inspiration4 people who measured less than 198 centimeters and weigh less than 113 kilos. These measures are broader than those of Blue Origin, so more people could access the space. In addition, they also asked the participants to be “fit” both physically and psychologically to be able to train. This is because training for this type of mission they are usually hard and it would rule out some possible participants. However, Elon Musk, the owner of SpaceX, also commented that “if you can get on an intense roller coaster, you should be fine to fly the Dragon.” Therefore, don’t be put off by training if you are determined to go to space in the future.
Different types of space flights
SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission lasts several days and the crew has been chosen to face the challenges of being in space
Nevertheless, these Blue Origin and SpaceX flights are very different. While the company founded by the CEO of Amazon is a journey to the edge of space of between ten and thirty minutes; the trip with SpaceX is a multi-day trip in which the crew has to be prepared for anything. In the case of Blue Origin, they will most likely fly into space with pilots prepared for it and space tourists just dedicate themselves to observing the Earth and enjoying weightlessness.
These are not the only companies that will send astronauts into space. The third is Virgin galactic, but at the moment it has not published the requirements for its flights with space tourists. It does promise to train all those who want to fly and make them astronauts fit to go into space. “We will prepare each astronaut thoroughly, through a program of medical check-ups and tailor-made training. “On the other hand, their flights are much more similar to those of Blue Origin than those of SpaceX, at least for the moment.
Training for space tourists
From Blue Origin they explain that yes it will be necessary a training. But it is so basic that it barely lasts a day. They have it prepared so that the day before the space tourists they can know everything they need about the flight and how to make the most of your experience. It will be more like the instructions given to us just before starting a commercial flight than the years-long training that astronauts receive from the European Space Agency (ESA), NASA or any other agency dedicated to space. .
In the case of Virgin Galactic, they point out from the Washington Post, the training itself will be a bit more exhaustive and will last three days. This is because space tourists will have to go through a full medical check-up and fully personalized preparation. The training will have much more to do with how the ship works, communications or how to enjoy weightlessness, than with physical training. Yes it is true that they will have to prepare space tourists to withstand the force of gravity in the launch and descent; but if the medical control is positive, it is most likely that these physical tests will be easy to pass.
Definitely, you will have to go through some kind of training to be able to go to space even if it’s like space tourists. But it should not be very difficult to overcome it if we are within the physical ranges indicated by the companies. On the other hand, on a psychological level it is likely that we are also prepared. And it is that space tourism is probably much more enjoyable and less stressful than the work carried out by astronauts at NASA or ESA.
Space tourism: this is the price
Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash
The price it will depend on the experience that we want. Suborbital flight is one thing in which, although weightlessness is experienced, we are actually on the brink of going out into space. I mean, we went up enough to see the curvature of the Earth and to float for a few minutes. These flights are currently offered by Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin.
Virgin Galactic charges about $ 250,000 for these suborbital flights. In the case of Blue Origin, we still don’t know what the price will be; Since the seat next to Jeff Bezos is being auctioned until this Saturday, June 12. However, the bids are high. At the time of publication of this article, there were $ 3.8 million. In addition, the final part of the auction will be done live, so surely still go higher. But do not be afraid: surely the final price of the seat has nothing to do with that of the next flights. They will probably go down.
Spacex it has not published its prices either for the moment; but as soon as missions similar to Inspiration4’s come out, we’ll get to know the price ranges they handle.
Visit the International Space Station
Finally, it must be borne in mind that It is not the same to be a space tourist for an hour or to go to the International Space Station (ISS) for days or weeks. In fact, this has already happened. In other words, space tourism has been around for a long time. Nevertheless, has not been available to everyone– A week-long trip commissioned by Axiom Space costs $ 55 million per person, indicates the Washington Post. Of course, there are several concepts inside: from where you sleep to transportation to the ISS, through food during that time. It’s like going to a hotel, but in space. So it is more expensive. At least for now.
In short, yes, traveling into space is getting closer and closer. Not everyone will be able to spend a month in a hotel that floats around the Earth, but perhaps they can see the curvature of our planet and feel in their own flesh what weightlessness is like. But first they have to lower prices so that those who want to do space tourism and do not handle thousands or millions of dollars can even dream of skimming space. It is close, but it is not affordable for everyone. For now.