Holidaymakers will be able to visit space in 10 years, according to a statement by a former NASA Astronaut.
In a recent interview, NASA Astronaut Don Thomas predicted that more and people will be able to afford and experience space tourism in as less as 10 years from now. A Mission Specialist selected as part of NASA’s 13th group of astronauts in 1990, Don embarked upon the “fly on four” space shuttle missions. His career with NASA had spanned 20 years. His remarks on the future of space tourism will most likely arouse a great deal of optimism and anticipation in countless space travel enthusiasts.
“In a decade or so, you will see flights to space for $10,000 to $15,000. Space travel will be more in line with an exotic trip to Antarctica”
Space tourism involves tourist-paid visits to space stations in “low Earth” orbit introduced for leisure, entertainment, and education. Space Tourism, both orbital and suborbital, is believed to be a pivotal aspect of the emerging “New Space” industry. Sub-orbital flights are intended to ascend about 85 miles high and allow tourists to experience the much fascinating zero gravity moment and observe the deep sky as well as the earth from near space.
On October 31, 2014, Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson’s aim to spearhead new-age space tourism took a dark and unfortunate turn when Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo came crashing down to Earth following a mid-air explosion during a test flight, killing the co-pilot and critically wounding the pilot himself. Investigations into the crash concluded that it was likely a human error on the part of the co-pilot who prematurely disengaged the spacecraft’s breaking mechanism. Despite the unfortunate crash of the test flight and a great deal of uncertainty following the incident, Virgin Galactic’s mission to fly tourists to space has gained even more momentum.
To date, just seven people have ventured into space as tourists on space flights previously operated by the Russian space agency. The trips involved fares as exorbitant as $20 million to $40 million per tourist for 7-day excursions to the International Space Station. Russia had, since 2001, ceased its space travel program. However, more recently, Russian officials are looking to resume the space travel program as soon as 2018.
Meanwhile, famed scientist Stephen Hawking has lauded Virgin Galactic for the latter’s extraordinary endeavour.
“I have long been an enthusiastic supporter of human space-flight, and in particular, efforts aimed at making this enormous human achievement more accessible. The first private astronauts will be pioneers. The first flights are expensive. But over time, I hope that space flight will become within the reach of far more of the Earth’s population.”
Don Thomas, who spent more than 1,000 hours in space during the 1990s and is at the moment serving as an ambassador for NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, said he was confident Virgin Galactic would overcome all obstacles in the coming years and accomplish the much-anticipated mission to launch space travel that will be affordable to many within the next 10 years.
“I believe they are just a few years away from beginning their commercial space flights. Right now they are redesigning their vehicles after their accident a year or two ago. Once the needed redesigns are completed, tested, and the safety of the system verified, commercial flights will commence.”
Thomas also expounded upon NASA’s much anticipated Orion spacecraft scheduled for its first test launch two years from now. According to him, the launch will pave the way for astronauts to not just set foot on the moon but undertake formerly unprecedented exploratory missions on asteroids as well as the ever-formidable Red Planet sooner than anticipated.
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