Space tourism has been in development for approximately 20 years, and recently we have been able to witness its first successful flights. Now that space travel for tourism purposes is a reality, we can see more clearly the importance of this industry, and how it could benefit humanity over time. There are several factors that highlight tourist space travel, and the reasons why we must support the consolidation of this industry.
Why support space tourism?
Although at first we can see it as a project that only a few millionaires will be able to enjoy, the truth is that there are many people who benefit from space tour.
It is a great opportunity for the new generations
The various companies that work to carry out flights outside our planet aimed at civilians, have a large number of young engineers, technicians and professionals from various areas who work in the development of their projects. The workspaces of the different aerospace companies look like university workshops where the generations of relief are learning and putting their ingenuity into practice to build engines, rockets, aerodynamic parts, etc. These companies are opening thousands of possibilities for current and future generations in terms of developing new technologies that could at some point benefit the world considerably.
Reduced costs of traveling into space
Today, launching a satellite into outer space represents a cost of 12 million dollars, to which must be added the amount of mandatory insurance that usually doubles the 12 million dollars. In addition to this, it should be noted that standard space rockets cannot be used again and are therefore extremely expensive. In contrast to the above, the space plane built by the Virgin company represents a cost of only 250 thousand dollars, and additionally this plane can be used again. This is a very clear example of the benefits that spaceflight companies can bring.
In fact, many of the scientific entities have already made suborbital flight reservations with the Virgin company, in order to carry out some of their experiments. If the advances of space companies succeed in creating space planes that can orbit, the cost of traveling into space would be greatly and favorably reduced. This would allow the launch of exploration missions, spacecraft and satellites for a very small cost. Likewise, space voyage could be accessible to many more people.
Space Travel Won’t Lead to a Major Pollution Disaster
It is reasonable to acknowledge the advantages listed above while still expressing worry about the possibility that a very successful space tourism sector may cause air pollution and contribute to global warming. Fortunately, the New Shepard from Blue Origin emits just water, thus neither of these things will be a concern even if there are thousands of flights each year. Some have argued that space tourism will cause more pollution per passenger mile because there are fewer people per vehicle, however, New Shepard has zero carbon and zero pollution, and space tourism vehicles will eventually become more spacious, much like aeroplanes did.
The Virgin Galactic engine is more troublesome, although it will probably be replaced with a more environmentally friendly engine before there are many flights. Some people might be more concerned about the StarShip/SuperHeavy from SpaceX contributing to global warming when utilized for space tourism and point-to-point travel on Earth. Elon Musk has stated his goal to use solar energy to directly extract the methane fuel it needs from the atmosphere, ensuring that the fuel cycle is carbon-neutral. When used in a point-to-point mode, StarShip will mostly replace existing aircraft that use cleaner-burning methane, perhaps resulting in less air pollution than is now the case. Whatever the case, space travel will probably always represent a small portion of point-to-point transportation on Earth
Currently, there are 5,700 passenger flights every day in the United States alone. We will struggle to produce more than a minuscule fraction of that traffic, even if we are concurrently maintaining dozens of orbiting hotels, developing a metropolis on Mars, and setting up a network of space solar power satellites.
Hypersonic travel could be a long-term reality
Considering that space companies are currently developing their first generation of spacecraft, specialists believe that in the long term they could make hypersonic or point-to-point flights a reality. What is known as a hypersonic flight is a trip that takes off from a point directly into space, returns to earth, and lands at another point. For example, a flight to go from New York to London, instead of traversing the earth’s atmosphere for several hours, would go out from New York into outer space and return to the planet, landing in the English capital. These flights would be much faster and by not traveling through the planet’s atmosphere, they would be contributing to caring for the environment. Of course, it is also expected that with the evolution of space flight technology, the costs of flights will decrease and may be affordable for most people.
Clean technology to travel to space
Although there is concern for many that space tourism ships could pollute the air. And contribute to global warming, companies have built ships that use clean technology to operate, and that do not generate any pollution. On the other hand, with the passage of time and with the development of new space transports, their passenger capacity could increase, thus reducing the number of flights. In parallel, clean combustion technologies could be perfected and used in all types of spacecraft.
You can get a different view of planet Earth
As stated by several astronauts who have had the opportunity to see Earth from outer space, that view has changed them dramatically in terms of their appreciation of the planet. If each person who travels to space and sees our planet from the vastness of the universe, changes his perspective of the world, in a space flight we would be gaining several allies from Earth. These are just a few of the reasons why we should support the outer space tourist flight industry. Without a doubt, it is an industry that will provide very valuable benefits to humanity.