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Super_User

Super_User

My name is Georgios Gregoriadis. I am an experienced physicist with a strong background in Astronomy. I graduated from the University of Ioannina in 2002. I am a private teacher and owner of this website.

With the private Ax-1 mission to the ISS, a new milestone in the new era of commercial space flight was set out from Florida on Friday morning. Ax-1 stands for Axiom-1, Axiom Space's first crewed mission. The firm has big intentions to replace the ISS and run Axiom Station (the company’s commercial space station) in orbit which is why the mission is known as; the Axiom mission.

 

Ax-1 Mission Takes Off

On April 8, 2022, at 11:17 a.m. EDT (1517 GMT), a SpaceX Falcon 9 spacecraft launched Ax-1, an Axiom mission from Houston-based business Axiom Space, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Florida's Space Coast. During the mission, no government space flyers were included as part of the crew. Instead, the crew’s spacecraft flyers were all privately booked to take off. It's the world's first entirely private spaceflight mission to the orbital lab.

The weather was excellent for the launch of the Ax-1 mission, and the sky looked simply stunning, so no harm was done or expected. Former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Allegria pilots a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule at the vehicle's apex. A team of private crew members is on board for a 10-day mission on the ISS. All team members have paid for the seats in which, one is a retired astronaut while the others are space flyers. There are a total of four crew members as space flyers on the board. Although the four astronauts have worked as investors and entrepreneurs, they intend to undertake a wide range of experiments, from biomedical research related to cancer to conducting a study regarding self-assembly robots.

The first stage of the Falcon 9 flew for the sixth time on Ax-1. The rocket also made its fifth landing, landing precisely 9.5 minutes after launch on the SpaceX drone ship. The drone ship is known as; “A Shortfall of Gravitas” which is stationed/located in the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Meet The Space Flyers Of Axiom Mission

Michael López-Alegra, Axiom's VP is a retired NASA astronaut and is allowed to operate Ax-1 for this mission without paying for his seat. Other than the main pilot, the other two pilots are Larry Connor, Eytan Stibbe, and Mark Pathy. Eytan and Mark are regarded as mission experts whenever it comes to space flights. This is the reason why they were selected, as it was the first-ever private mission to land on a different space station titled: “Axiom Space Station” so the pick of crew members had to be the best one. The best part is, all the three crew members have paid for their seats themselves except López-Alegra, as he didn’t pay for his seat. Instead, he became a guide for the other crew members to do so, and how to space fly successfully during the Axiom Misson. Pathy is the CEO and head of the Canadian sustainable investing business “MARVIK”, while Stibbe is a founding member of the Vital Capital Impact investment fund. He has served as a former pilot in the Israel air force and is known to be the second-ever Israeli to ever fly a spacecraft. Before Stibbe, Ramon was the first-ever astronaut to fly a spacecraft however sadly, he died in the Columbia space shuttle disaster back in 2003. After the tragic incident, Stibbie alongside Ramon’s family co-founded Ramon Foundation, which is a charity foundation to pay honor to Ramon so that he can be remembered forever for his work.  

All of these space travelers are not just specialists, but also incredibly successful businessmen. This is the reason why they were able to pay for the seat. According to experts, it is estimated that the cost per seat of the Ax-1 mission is around $55 million. However, López-Alegra has mentioned during a discussion with the media, that the three crew members who have paid for their seats are not space tourists. Instead, they are space flyers. The reason why he mentioned this is because many space travelers have paid for their seats just to witness the special moment of flying into space.

The crew members who were launched into space on April 8th, 2022 are set to stay there for about 10 days. For the 10-day frame, the crew has a variety of activities planned, including working on 25 different scientific experiments. As per the insides, Stibbe is using a "brain headgear" from the Israeli firm “Brain.Space” as part of his research work. This experiment is one of many that Stibbe is doing on behalf of the Ramon Foundation to see how one’s brain behaves in space. Also as per Hassmann, the Ax-1 team's research would look into aging, heart health, stem cells, and other areas respectively.

I think we can all agree that space tourism excites and creates enthusiasm, but is space tourism expensive?

Many people naturally assume space tourism will be exorbitantly expensive given the technology required to explore space and how far removed it is from the average person's life. Space tours could easily cost $1,000 per space mile or more, right?

Well not really. A space mile is a measure of space distance and is equal to the average distance between the Earth and Moon. So space tours could easily cost $1,000 per space mile or more... Yes? No! That would be ridiculous.

 

The Reality Of Space Tourism Costs

In reality space tourism will most likely cost about as much as a business class plane ticket, but with space tours you get to travel about eight times faster.

The space planes being developed by companies such as Virgin Galactic and XCOR will cut the time it takes for space tourists to get from point A to B by a factor of ten or more compared to space shuttles which used rockets.

This is all good news, especially for space engineers and scientists that experiment with space travel and physics on a regular basis.

Space tourism will not be cheap but it also won't be the crazy $1,000 per space mile some people assume it to be.

 

What Is The Space Industry Worth?

The space industry — including space tours — is already worth an astounding $300 billion per year and it's only growing. A large part of that space tourism market share will not just be individuals but also larger companies such as hotels, resorts and more. This would be a great opportunity for space entrepreneurs to bring space closer to more people by way of space tours.

The space industry in general — not just space tourism — continues to grow and change the world we live in and only promises to grow more in years to come.

 

What Is The Likely Future Cost Of Space Tourism?

The actual cost of space tourism is not going to be charged per space mile or space kilometer, but will likely cost around the price of a business class plane ticket if space tourism companies develop space planes that travel about eight times faster than space shuttles.

Space tours are one space industry that is already generating a lot of money and is expected to continue doing so. It's likely space tourism will follow suit in an exponential growth curve.  In 2016, space tourism companies received deposits amounting to more than $1.75 billion from space enthusiasts who are interested in space tours.

As with most innovations, the cost to participate in a space flight initially was exorbitant, however space tours are starting to become more affordable. Today space enthusiasts can participate in space tours for as low as $20,000 through space tourism companies like Space Adventures and Blue Origin. But the cost of space tourism is still high despite being much lower than before.

 

What Makes Space Tourism Expensive?

The space tourism industry is not just for space tours, but space flights as well. Both of these are expensive because space travel requires a lot of preparation. To start with, you need to know how much fuel the rocket needs to reach its destination. Of course, there's also training that goes along with space travels - every space tourist must be fully trained before they can fly.

There's also the cost of space suits,  training tools and space facilities around the world where space tourists train.  All space programs require training facilities not just for space tourists but also the astronauts who work for space tourism companies.

Commercial space travel isn't cheap, but it will still cost much less than a trip to deep space. There's also the time and money used to test space flights. Every space flight must pass certain standards set by space agencies before it can be released.

Space tours are not cheap, but they offer space lovers the opportunity to experience space travel at a fraction of what it would cost without space tourism companies. That's why more and more people are hoping for space tourism to become even more affordable in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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