“The idea gradually dawned around the turn of the twentieth century that the rocket was the key to space travel.” (History of Rocketry and Space Travel) Then in 1969, Lance Armstrong and Apollo 11 landed on the mood for the first time. Now over 40 years later, the thought of public tourism into outer space has become a reality.
A big turning point in public space tourism was the SpaceX competition, which was held on October 4, 2004. There was a $10,000,000 prize to the group who could build a private space ship that could carry three people to 100 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, twice within two weeks. The prize was one by a group called SpaceShipOne, led by aerospace designer Burt Rutan and financier Paul Allen. Dr Buzz Aldrin, one of the NASA astronauts from Apollo 11 said, “I think the Ansari Xprize should be viewed as the beginning of one giant leap.”(Xprize Foundation)
There had been space tourism prior to 2004, but it was much more expensive and not nearly as common. A company called “Space Adventures” has been sending tourists into outer space since 2001. The Japanese are also very advanced when it comes to space tourism; “Shimizu Corp., a Japanese company, has already made blueprints for an orbiting space hotel”(Dust off the Moon Suit) Which means that maybe at some point will you not only be able to take a trip into outer space, but you will be able to sleep comfortable in a hotel which floats in orbit.
One of the biggest names in space tourism in the world at this time is Virgin Galactic, which is owned by Richard Branson. The spaceships that are used by Virgin Galactic are built with the crew and passenger safety in mind. They found that Burt Rutan’s designs used to win the Xprize award were thousands of times safer the past space vehicles. Virgin’s space ships can hold up to six passengers and two pilots at a time, and are about sixty feet long.
If you want to take a trip into outer space with Virgin...