Did you fail to become an astronaut and do you have a lot of money? Don’t worry, because NASA is considering taking paying tourists in spacecraft on their way to the ISS. Within the organization there would already be the necessary support for the plan.
Within the space agency, an advisory committee has reportedly already expressed support for the plan, The Washington Post reports. The proposal is currently being considered. It is not yet certain if and when NASA will actually take tourists on their way to the International Space Station. This plan is likely part of a change of direction that will see private companies and individuals become more involved in NASA operations. If the plan materializes, it is likely that the Starliner and Crew Dragon capsules to be launched for the first time in 2019 will be used. It is not known how much a possible ticket will cost.
Russia has been selling spacecraft seats to tourists for some time. For example, the world’s first space tourist, American multimillionaire Dennis Tito, went to the ISS on April 28, 2001 with a Soyuz TM-32. The flight and his week-long stay reportedly cost him $20 million. NASA criticized this at the time, because Tito would not have received the proper training and the Russian language was not fluent; in emergency situations this could have been a safety issue.
Space tourism will really take off in the coming years. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic have advanced plans to offer tourists a minute’s stay in space. Blue Origin uses the reusable New Shephard, an 18m high rocket that consists of a rocket stage and a capsule. Virgin Galactic does things very differently; a special aircraft is hovered under a larger aircraft to an altitude of 15 km, after which a hybrid rocket engine is ignited and an altitude of up to 110 km is reached.
WhiteKnightTwo Carrier Aircraft with SpaceShipTwo . suspended in the middle below the continuous wing