Have a thing for adventure but absolutely done with the lackluster paragliding/ skydiving/ *insert whatever adventure sport your squad might be tripping on right now* plans? Elon Musk might be ideating on just the thing for you: a trip to the super high orbit with SpaceX!
In a one-of-its-kind collab with Space Adventures, SpaceX recently inked a deal to send four tourists into the deep orbit. The ambitious plan will give four individuals an opportunity to break the current world altitude record for private citizen spaceflight and provide them with an opportunity to experience planet Earth like never before.
SpaceX’s CEO, Elon Musk, has been enthusiastically exploring the possibility of space tourism for quite some time now. It was in 2017 that the company shared its plans of sending two of its customers for a trip around the moon. However, the plans never materialised due to multiple hiccups. This time around, they have taken good care to make it happen and it was only last year that they launched a successful uncrewed test flight to the station followed by a launch test earlier this year. The mission would be facilitated by SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, which is specially designed to transport NASA astronauts.
Lately, space tourism, as a lucrative business opportunity, has been attracting other private spaceflight companies as well. Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic have also been exploring the idea just like Musk. However, the experiences that they are offering right now are way briefer than what SpaceX is proposing at the moment. The mission might last up to five days and as Tom Shelley said in a statement to AFP, there "Goal is to try to get to about two to three times the height of the space station." Needless to say, it would be safe to abort the mission if you spend the majority of your flights with fingers crossed and your heart pounding against your chest.
Also, grand as it might sound, hold your breath, if a comfy, luxurious flight is what you envision here. With its constrained volume of nine square metres, the capsule provides you with no private areas to rest, wash or use the bathroom. And I don’t know about you, but the idea is slightly triggering my claustrophobia as I write about it. I, thus, find a little solace in the fact that it’s unlikely for me to ever be able to afford this experience.
Like Shelley has to say, "It's not cheap." Given that just the estimated cost of launching a Falcon 9 rocket, that supports the capsule comes, around 62 million dollars, it’s safe to assume that the cost of the experience won’t be anything less than, say, a 100 million dollars.
But who’d be willing to shell that much for something so high stake? Shelly has an answer: “We have a pretty good network of high net worth individuals around the world, many of whom we know are interested in spaceflight."
My head goes back to an Insta post that said, “People with money unlock a different kind of world.” Now, that’s some food for thought, right?
Featured Image: SpaceX
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