Private Space Travel is Here
If you are alive today, you have a very real opportunity of traveling to space before you die. Whether you personally fly to space or not, private space travel will have a tremendous effect on all our lives.
Advances in private space travel, once the domain of a privileged few, are making it possible for everyday people to have the profound experience of space flight. Armchair astronauts can finally live the dream on board passenger spacecraft built by Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson and Burt Rutan, the designer of history-making SpaceShipOne. Virgin Galactic’s passenger spacecraft can carry six people to the edge of space where they float weightless and view the awesome Earth below.
Other prominent millionaires investing some of their fortunes in private space travel include Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com. This successful book entrepreneur is developing a spacecraft that flies like those envisioned in early science fiction novels. Elon Musk, founder of Paypal, created Space X and the Falcon 9 rocket that soon carry astronauts to the International Space Station. Robert Bigelow, founder of theBudget Suites hotel chain, is test-flying inflatable cabin modules for a future space hotel.
Many of us from all walks of life want to space-travel. We have dreamed of these journeys while enjoying space-themed movies, TV programs and books. Space travel is compelling, whether it’s the desire to have a life-changing view of Earth from orbit or to float weightless in space as in our flying dreams.
Polls show that over half of us would like to travel in space. The list includes celebrities such as actor Tom Hanks, movie director James Cameron and renowned physics professor Stephen Hawking; as well as everyone from high school teachers to starry-eyed children, to me and maybe you too.
If someone had told your great-great-grandfather back in 1904—when the Wright Brothers took their short but historic flight—that within a decade a passenger airline service would be operating in America, he probably would have laughed—along with the rest of the world. Today, thanks to the Wright Brothers and others, the everyday person can take an afternoon suborbital flight to the edge of space or go all the way to orbit and circle the entire planet every ninety minutes while floating weightless.
We are entering a new space age – the dawning of a space-traveler society here on Earth.