Through thorns to the stars
Much does it cost to fly in space?
Previously the space was the subject of dreams and the destiny of only the elect, now to experience weightlessness or take a journey to the stars almost everyone can have money. To replace professional the orbit space tourism comes. Those wishing to become astronauts does not scare nor a long period of preflight preparation or high risk, so every year this extreme form of recreation is becoming increasingly popular .
Weightlessness for all
The “budget” option space tourism is a program of suborbital flights, in which the ship goes into orbit, the aircraft goes to higher altitude (about 100 km), which is a while, and then falls down, whereby passengers can enjoy all the delights of weightlessness.
Suborbital flights is the near future of space tourism, says academician of the Russian Academy of cosmonautics named after K. E. Tsiolkovsky Alexander Zheleznyakov. According to him, now several companies (Space Adventures, Another day universe and Virgin Galactic – ed.) are developing aircraft with such a dynamics that one can say that in 2014 will begin to be more or less regular flights. “The ticket price is about 100 tischdeko that the forces of the so-called middle class. When such flights will be massive, then their price will drop to 40-50 thousand dollars, but not below,” said Zheleznyakov .
The suborbital flights there is an alternative – a subsidiary of ZERO-G helps to prepare for the flight into space. Tourists experience a state of artificial weightlessness or lunar gravity. The cost of a flight on a modified Boeing 727-200 is estimated at about 30 thousand dollars, with which else it is necessary to pay a tax of 5 %.
Before going into space , you must pass a special examination, and if the results are successful, the future astronaut will have to get in line (2-3 years).
The organization is engaged in orbital space tours Space Adventures Agency . which plans this year to increase the number of flights. The price per flight to the stars at this company is $ 15 million, but by 2015 it is planned to lower rates – up to 100 thousand dollars, thanks to technological development. In addition, Space Adventures intends to introduce for its clients a new service – the EVAs for $ 15 million, however, this pleasure discounts are not yet scheduled.
Another player in the market is space tourism company XCOR . offering to fly to space aboard the Lynx. The cost of travelling with this tour operator will cost only 95 thousand dollars on pre-order.
To talk about the imminent decrease in the prices for tourist flights into space too early. Experts believe that orbital tourism for at least another twenty years would remain the lot of the rich. Currently the cost is large and the flight is made not so much. Also for availability of mass space travel is necessary to develop private manned spacecraft like the Dragon.
The development of space tourism is lucrative, said Zheleznyakov: “Imagine, the development of one aircraft, the company will spend approximately $ 10 million, including development, construction, testing. Next, when she will start producing these units commercially, will spend another several million dollars. When the intensity of flights once a week the cost will be covered through two years, therefore, from the third year there will be a profit”.
Be that as it may, but in Russia such projects no one does. “We have a place for projects, but only at the level of the paper. Therefore, our country in the near future is unlikely to join these companies,” says Zheleznyakov. In his opinion, Russia will enter the market of space tourism only when the private sector will pay attention to the rocket and space industry. For example, in the U.S. initially, private companies did not create suborbital vehicles, and the development of missiles capable to put satellites into space. Until the moment when Russia would launch a private tourist unit, will be expected to take one year, the expert believes.
Forward, to Mars!
The first space tourist was American multi-millionaire Dennis Tito . who flew to the ISS aboard the Russian Soyuz April 28, 2001. Then Tito paid the Russian Federal space Agency of Russia (Roscosmos) $ 20 million.
In February of this year the American has set up the Foundation Inspiration Mars Foundation . the purpose of which is to conduct a space cruise to Mars in 2018. The project provides for Tito not even reaching orbit around Mars, but those wishing to participate in this flight there were many. How much will cost such a great trip, not yet reported, but given that its duration will be 501 day, it can be assumed that the price will be at least $ 25 million.
As a vehicle for travel to Mars multimillionaire plans to use private spacecraft Dragon . which to date has already made three flights to the ISS. However, for the flight to the red planet the reliability of the aircraft should increase due to the long duration of the cruise. The ability to simply not return from space flight space tourists care about in the least. Alexander Zheleznyakov emphasizes that a commercial enterprise is still more interested in profits, so the safety issue they face not to the same extent as in government organizations (NASA or Roscosmos). However, in practice aircraft, if at the first stage of the development of the spacecraft is to pay close attention to its reliability, subsequent operation of the apparatus will be safe enough. Anyway, to the point where private space travel will become more available, their reliability will increase.