The space tourism business, which is predicted to grow to be worth at least $3 billion by 2030, is where the NewSpace industry is focusing its attention. Other private businesses, like Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, are investing in suborbital space tourism to carry people from Earth to the very edge of space and back, as corporations like SpaceX test reusable rocket technology to make human spaceflight more accessible and inexpensive. While space tourism will initially only be available to the ultra-rich and private researchers, the long-term offers hope for regular people.
A few key themes will shape the future of space travel as well as the advancements we achieve on and off our home planet. Technology development is a key factor in sending more visitors to space.
It is time to acknowledge that space travel and tourism should already be commonplace and would have been if not for the tremendous economic and social distortions brought on by the cold war. These distortions are far from being an eccentric or even foolish “fringe” activity. But we don’t have to be the helpless victims of history, especially of regrettable events like the cold war, which squandered a tremendous amount of resources, killed millions of people, and seriously distorted the development of the space industry by concentrating on missiles and disposable launch vehicles made from them.
This first sped up the creation of disposable rockets that could carry large payloads into orbit, which in turn sped up the launch of the first crewed spacecraft. However, as a result, cold war politics entangled civilian space programs based on disposable spacecraft, which are still driven by the political goals of government space agencies instead of producing commercial value.
Commercial Flights in Space
The subsector of space tourism that will most likely take off first and last the shortest is suborbital travel. Jeff Bezos-backed Blue Origin, on the other hand, is testing a system called New Shepard that would send consumers into space in a capsule that detaches from a tiny rocket and returns to Earth using parachute technology. Virgin Galactic, owned by Richard Branson, uses a spacecraft that is launched from a carrier aircraft and has a rocket motor to accelerate and carry passengers far into the sky.
Both businesses’ shuttle systems are built to take guests more than 50 miles above Earth’s atmosphere, giving consumers a brief opportunity to feel weightless. As Blue Origin looks toward early 2021, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo will launch its first human spaceflight test on December 11.
These quick spaceflights offer options for travel and scientific study, as well as special opportunities for space observation at various trajectories and following legal regulations. But according to Axios, people are becoming less interested in suborbital travel as a whole because it is expensive and only lasts a short time. As consumers wait for advancements in the industry, this might collapse the market.
Still, there is some opportunity. Some experts predict that commercial suborbital flights would someday replace long-distance air travel and serve the needs of regular people. SpaceX intends to send 100 passengers across the globe in a few minutes using its Starship rocket. According to the business, a flight from New York to Shanghai would take just 39 minutes. According to UBS, profits might soar to $20 billion annually in today’s money if even only 5% of the 150 million customers who take flights lasting at least 10 hours pay $2,500 for each trip.
Space tourism “may be the stepping stone for the development of long-haul travel on Earth served by space,” according to a new UBS analysis.
Vacations in space
Another significant emphasis of governmental organizations and commercial space firms is orbital tourism, which comprises staying in space for at least one complete orbit with the long-term objective of settling on the moon and Mars. Commercial spacecraft will begin transporting visitors to the International Space Station as early as this year, according to projects from Boeing, SpaceX, and Axiom Space. In late 2021 or early 2022, SpaceX will fly four visitors to low Earth orbit as part of a collaboration with Space Adventures.
Orbital holidays are expected to become more and more common as more businesses contemplate space travel. As space infrastructure businesses have already brought in a combined $3.6 billion this year, the infrastructure for orbital tourism, including orbital and lunar-based hotels, is poised to become profitable.
Establishing low-orbit hotels could be the first step, but most of this infrastructure is still in its development. One hotel concept envisions sending visitors in a pressurized capsule attached to a hydrogen-filled balloon using the gravity of Earth. Other alternatives include creating a new space station or remodeling an existing one to accommodate visitors. For instance, NASA is allowing commercial tourists to visit the International Space Station. Six guests will spend $9.5 million for a 12-day stay at the upcoming luxury hotel The Aurora Station, which will be located in low Earth orbit.
Although it’s expensive, analysts believe costs will decline, much as they did for computers and mobile phones in the IT sector.
The idea of inflatable space homes might likewise be used as orbital lodging. They are sent into space where they are inflated to their actual size. They are made of unusual materials and are simple to keep at home. The B330 is a space habitat created by Bigelow Space that expands to provide a hotel or residential space for astronauts. They are linked to other inflatable habitats to expand their size as the need arises. One of the first space hotels will be built by Bigelow as an inflatable module that is linked to the International Space Station. The first step toward settling the moon and Mars will soon be holidays in space.
Future Employment Solutions
The emergence of space tourism will also refute claims that there is a “job shortage” among humans. According to some, the world is headed towards an unavoidable unemployment catastrophe, with the greatest jobless rates seen since the 1930s in Japan, Europe, the United States, and many other developing nations.
There is boundless potential for economic expansion in near-Earth space through the creation of new services that have significant commercial demand from people with middle-class incomes and above. Near-Earth space is easily commercially accessible with the construction of passenger spaceships. Except for those who benefit from conflict, this is unquestionably a far more appealing future than the “solution” to the unemployment of the 1930s.
Their flawed worldview must be addressed to prevent their interests from impeding the beginning of humanity’s peaceful economic growth through the solar system.
Promoting Global Economics and Space Exploration
Private space enterprises are heavily investing in space tourism, and organizations like UBS see access to space as a catalyst for more investment potential.
Because of the potential and innovation in the space tourism industry, more next-generation engineers will enter the field. As entrance hurdles are finally lowered, more people will be able to fly to space at affordable prices.
There are important safety, comfort, and health considerations. Before visitors travel to space, training, medical exams, and liability releases will need to be reviewed.
Although it will only be a minor portion of the market, space tourism will benefit the whole NewSpace sector. When space travel does become commonplace, it will also have a favorable effect on many socioeconomic aspects of Earth’s society, including the development of new solar-powered energy infrastructure and the creation of employment. A sweet escape to the stars can, in the end, awaken us to the awe-inspiring possibilities of space exploration and also improve our appreciation of home.
Earth is too small for humans. Truth be told, we outgrew it a long time ago. It’s time to undo a historical accident that resulted in governments funding disposable launch vehicles for decades, fooling the public and themselves into thinking that space is a barrier rather than a sea of possibility. It has taken a while to dispel this myth, but with the rapidly advancing prospects for the launch of sub-orbital passenger space flight operations from newly-built commercial spaceports, we are close to a breakthrough. The understanding that Earth is not a prison growing more crowded, but the cradle of a space-faring species.
The Space Tourism movement is fully capable of supplying the vision and leadership that are holding up this progress, which will be so beneficial to the entire globe.