Space Tourism—The Next Tourist Frontier?

Space tourism is no longer a kid’s (or adult’s) dream. There are now flights that fly into sub-orbital space, and they not only allow the sight of the Earth and the Moon, but zero-g weightlessness!

Space tourism is a relatively new thing. Currently, there are only sub-orbital space flights available.

Sub-orbital spaceflight is where a space capsule is put into orbit around the Earth, but within the outer limits of the Earth’s atmosphere. This is where microgravity holds sway—an area that has such an extremely low amount of gravity that it is ostensibly zero gravity.

There was a company named Space Adventures that used a Russian spacecraft to dock with the International Space Station, which was used until 2010 when the International Space Station increased its crew size, and therefore they could no longer hold the space tourists.

Because of this, the only current option for space tourism is sub-orbital flight, where an aircraft ascends to the topmost part of the Earth’s atmosphere, and releases a capsule that is maneuvered into the area between the upper atmosphere and true space.

Generally, to achieve sub-orbital space, a high-altitude aircraft carries a small rocket-propelled capsule to approximately 50,000 feet, before disengaging the capsule, which is then propelled to sub-orbit.

Also, some space tourism companies offer the opportunity to do research while in sub-orbit. This gives researchers—both students and professionals—the opportunity to conduct near-zero-gravity experiments, and test and calibrate data in sub-orbit.