07/24/2021 6:00 AM
Updated 07/24/2021 6:00 AM
"We are living the race of
," says Andrés Jones, an Argentine amateur in the field who applied to make a seven-day trip around the moon in 2023 by the hand of the Japanese millionaire Yusaku Maezawa.
The idea of going to space is latent in the heads of many people who,
without being an astronaut,
want to know what lies beyond, something that until a few years ago seemed very distant but is not so far, as demonstrated by Jeff's recent trip. Bezos on the New Shepard ship that was followed live by millions of people.
For decades, work has been done on the possibility that ordinary citizens can sometimes buy a seat in a spaceship and
vacation outside the limits of planet Earth
Until now, only a few have been able to make it happen.
The new space race is geared towards tourism.
The first space tourist, American billionaire
fulfilled his dream 20 years ago.
It took off in the Russian Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
He paid $ 20 million to spend a week on the International Space Station (ISS), located 250 miles high.
Tito made the trip through the
, which has already brought six more millionaires from Russian soil.
Initially, NASA was opposed to transferring tourists, but over time it changed its position and in 2020 it enabled any citizen to visit the ISS.
Since those first tourist trips, the advances have been several and significant.
The possibility of floating due to the lack of gravity, taking a notion of the size of the Earth, being closer to the Moon and seeing how the sky goes from celestial to black, seem more and more real.
Virgin Galactic's Unity spacecraft in the first test conducted in 2018. Photo Virgin Galactic / AFP.
Today there are three companies that mark the path of space tourism.
, by millionaire Richard Branson;
, by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and
created by Elon Musk.
Branson beat his colleagues hand in hand.
His company was the first to make a journey among these giants.
The Englishman took off on July 11 from New Mexico, United States, on a suborbital flight.
The crew was exposed for a few minutes to weightlessness and was able to see space at the edge of the atmosphere.
Virgin Galactic Unity ship.
Photo Patrick T. Fallon / AFP.
The ship, known as Unity, with a capacity for six passengers, was carried by a plane about 15 kilometers.
There it was launched and the capsule started its engine to propel itself.
The height of Branson's trip was
Although the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States establishes that the limit between the atmosphere and outer space is 80 kilometers, the International Aeronautical Federation maintains that the border is located
In a fierce competition for which would be the first company to achieve the goal of transporting travelers, Blue Origin used its Twitter account to indicate that “for 96% of the world's population, space begins 100 kilometers high on the line of Kármán, internationally recognized ", hinting that Branson's trip was not" into space. "
Richard Branson and the crew on their flight into space.
Photo Virgin Galactic via Reuters.
For future tourists that discussion is not important.
According to the AFP news agency, Virgin Galactic has already sold
for trips planned for 2022.
They cost between
However, the company warned that the seats that will go on sale in the future will be more expensive.
But money may not be an impediment since there is the difficult -but real- possibility of
going for free
The company launched a giveaway for two people to experience weightlessness without paying a penny.
To participate you must sign up through the Omaze page.
Registration will close on September 1 and winners will be announced later that month.
Richard Branson invites you to go free on his spaceship.
Blue Origin also achieved a milestone in this space race.
On July 20, the company made the first human flight of the New Shepard spacecraft.
10 minutes and 29 seconds.
“The company launches a capsule in which four passengers travel 100 kilometers high.
At 80 kilometers the rocket is separated from the capsule.
The rocket lands and the capsule falls to the ground with three large parachutes plus last-minute propulsion to slow the fall, ”explains Jones.
The Blue Origin capusla landing safely.
AP Photo / Tony Gutierrez.
The crew was made up of Jeff Bezos along with his brother Mark, the pioneer ex-traveler Wally Funk, 82, and the Dutch Oliver Daemen, 18. Oliver became the youngest person to reach space and Wally, the oldest. age.
Additionally, Daemen was the
first commercial astronaut
to purchase a ticket and fly into space in a privately funded and licensed space vehicle from a private launch site.
"This marks the beginning of
, and Oliver represents a new generation of people who will help us build a path into space," said Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin.
This was the crew of Blue Origin's first commercial and human flight.
Photo Reuters / Joe Skipper.
The seat was sold at auction for
$ 28 million
The original buyer, who preferred to remain anonymous, was unable to travel due to scheduling issues and chose to be part of a future mission.
Passengers had to meet several requirements to secure a place on the ship.
They had to be of legal age, weigh between 50 and 101 kilos, be able to climb the launch tower in less than 90 seconds and walk fast on uneven surfaces, among others.
The company did not announce a precise schedule on upcoming launches.
On the website they announce that they
plan two more flights for this year
and many more for 2022.
Jeff Bezos while inspecting the New Shepard launch facility in West Texas Photo EFE / Blue Origin.
Musk's empire is the only one of the pioneers that has yet
to make a flight.
The company's project, which will try to bring people to Mars in the future, is much more ambitious since they are longer itineraries.
In September, the Inspiration4 mission financed by American mogul Jared Isaacman will be completed.
He and three other passengers will travel through low Earth orbit for several days aboard the Dragon spacecraft.
Starship from Space X.
In addition, SpaceX is developing the
, chosen by NASA to return astronauts to the Moon, something that has not happened since 1972.
With that ship, Musk's company plans to transport Japanese businessman Yusaku Maezawa to a lunar flyby for a week in 2023. According to AFP, the price of this trip amounts to tens of millions of dollars.
In an act of solidarity, the businessman announced that he would invite eight passengers to go with him for free.
Argentine Andres Jones was one of the many who applied.
A prototype Starship landing in Texas.
Photo SpaceX / AFP.
"I'm not afraid;
I'm much more afraid of getting on a bus
on the route than on a spaceship, "Jones told
at the time
. Despite his desire, the eight Maezamawa companions have already been announced and the San Juan was not chosen.
Before meeting the natural satellite,
the Japanese will go to the International Space Station
He bought seats on the Russian Soyuz capsule and will take off in December.
It will be in space for 12 days.
The trip is organized by Space Adventures, the same entity that was behind Tito's trip.
There are several investments and tests that are being made in this business.
Zero 2 Infinity
is a Spanish company that wants to make
“We plan to take people to the
edge of space
, 36 kilometers up, where you can already see the black sky, the curved horizon and the blue Earth.
In one year we could start bringing professionals and the following year members of the public ”, explained José Mariano López-Urdiales, founder and CEO of the company, to
One of the prototypes in a flight 32 km high.
Photo Zero 2 Infinity.
The ticket at this time has a price of
per person and they already have several tickets sold, although they do not specify the exact amount.
The experience will last three days.
The flight is six hours and more than four are spent in the area of near space.
"The Blue Origin system offers exactly five minutes of view of near space (between 30 and 110 km) and the Virgin system offers even less time," explained López-Urdiales.
Infinity 2 Zero does not use a rocket, but a balloon.
The cabin is pressurized and "looks a lot like Bezos'."
They have already done more than 50 tests with prototypes.
On the other hand, in Russia several projects are being resumed.
, the country's space agency, was involved with the arrival in space of the first space tourists, they already have next plans.
In 2023 he will make the
first moonwalk with an ordinary citizen
The company Space Adventures with which he worked on other occasions, is behind the organization.
Roscosmos plans to take tourists to the Moon.
Photo Roscosmos Space Agency Press Service via AP.
Boeing, an aircraft manufacturer, is also entering the market little by little.
In addition to designing satellites, it is developing a spacecraft called the
Commercial Space Crew Transport Starliner (CST).
“Allowing citizens to experience the wonder of space flight is part of our future plans for Starliner.
Boeing will offer seats for scientists, researchers, educators, astronauts from around the world and space tourists to travel to low earth orbit and to the International Space Station ”, they said from the company and clarified that for now, they do not have an estimated date for the start of their operations or tentative prices.
The spacecraft is being developed in collaboration with NASA's Commercial Crew Program.
It was designed to carry seven passengers, or a combination of crew and cargo.
Boeing CST-100 Starliner is being designed to take tourists into space.
Photo NASA / Cory Huston via Reuters.
On Friday, July 30, there will be a launch of the CST-100 Starliner on the Atlas V rocket in the direction of the Space Station.
It will be from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
The mission will provide data that will help NASA certify Boeing's crew transportation system.
A hotel in space?
Some visionaries are a little step forward and do not think about getting there, but where to
sleep and what to
do in space.
is working on the world's first
commercial and private
The launch will be in two parts.
One in 2024 and one in 2025. It will dock with the International Space Station.
It will then separate to operate independently.
This is what the Axiom Space station will look like.
The accommodation has already been designed.
It will be shaped like an egg, which "symbolizes the comfort of a complete nest
with unobstructed views of our
, the first place of its kind for humans to truly contemplate our place in the Cosmos," can be read on the official page.
The construction will be orbiting 400 kilometers above the surface of the Earth.
It will be equipped to conduct microgravity experiments and tests of critical materials in the space environment.
In a few years, the offer will be one more among all the tourist options.
People will hire companies to organize a trip to the Moon instead of a beach in the Caribbean, Disney or the European capitals.
Of course, in addition to being brave and meeting the requirements, travelers must be willing to shell out a fortune.
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