Journey into space has recently been the cherished dream of everyone. But while few people had a chance to see the Universe, to feel weightlessness and see the Earth from the window. Until recently, it was possible only by well-trained astronauts or very wealthy people, but for the common man “Cosmic Gate” were tightly shut.
But now, space tourism is gaining momentum. In the near future, almost everyone can afford to fly into space aboard the same way as they are now flying on airplanes. In addition to external and technical diversity of the spacecraft in the future, the developers promise the emergence of space hotels and entire space cities fantastic.
Space “for the poor”.
Who among us at least once in my life wanted to fly a spaceship and experience weightlessness? Previously, it was only a dream, but now to help space tourism program comes suborbital flights.
Suborbital flights are space partly because ship does not go into orbit. Aircraft or capsule are pushed to higher altitudes (about 100 miles), make a few parabolas, and then fall down, allowing passengers to experience weightlessness and overloading, as during space flight.
Today, a number of companies engaged in development programs suborbital flights. The best known among them Virgin Galactis, Space Adventures, as well Another day universe. The cost of a suborbital flight ranges from 100 to 200 thousand dollars.
The most extensive program of suborbital flights is a program run by Virgin Galactic, owned by British billionaire Richard Branson. To carry out tourist suborbital flights Virgin Galactic spaceport built a special, located in the State of New Mexico. The main development of the company became a spaceship SpaceShipTwo.
SpaceShipTwo accommodate four passengers and two crew members. The cost of travel on the ship will cost tourists of 200 thousand dollars, and the flight at an altitude of 110 km for two hours, during which one can experience the joys of overload and about six minutes to arrive in a state of weightlessness. The first SpaceShipTwo suborbital flight is scheduled for late 2012. But tickets for tourists already on sale.
A competing company Space Adventures has signed an agreement on cooperation in the sub-orbital flights with Armadillo Aerospace, which will develop a rocket ship. At the moment the ship is developed and has no definite name, estimated cost of the flight will be 110 thousand dollars, time of flight in space for 5-15 minutes.
In addition, a subsidiary of Space Adventures, the company ZERO-G operates flights on airplanes modified Boeing 727-200. Such flights are suborbital not but help astronauts prepare for a beginner to fly in space, but also bring a lot of fun and excitement to the tourists who can experience weightlessness. To become a member of the flight on a modified Boeing 727, only have to place an online application form on the website and pay about 29.9 thousand dollars, plus 5% tax.
Surrounding ZERO-G flights are scheduled for 19 and 20 November 2011. Since 2004. ZERO-G is “carried” more than 5 thousand passengers in 174 flights. The peculiarity of such a flight is that it is possible to artificially create the conditions for the Martian or lunar gravity, if any, to simulate a state of complete weightlessness.
Another company that is trying to catch up with competitors and to compete with them in the development of spacecraft for suborbital flights is Another day universe. Currently, she is developing a suborbital rocket Lynx. The first flights are scheduled for 2012., The cost is kept secret.
Suborbital flights are a transitional stage in the development of space tourism. According to the chief probation department RSC “Energia” Yuri Usachev, “these flights offer, because nothing else there.”