SpaceX launches into space tourism, a booming field – rts.ch

It’s SpaceX’s turn to enter space tourism. A rocket from Elon Musk’s company is expected to propel four passengers on Wednesday who will spend three days in space. First launched in 2001, missions of this type are multiplying in 2021.

It will be the first mission to send only complete novices into orbit around the Earth, without a professional astronaut on board. baptized inspiration4, it was chartered by American billionaire and pilot Jared Isaacman, at his expense. They will go beyond the altitude at which the ISS is located.

The flight must normally remain fully automated and the crew has been training for several months. In particular, they experienced the G-force they will be exposed to.

Jared Isaacman, a 38-year-old American, head of a financial services company and seasoned pilot, contracts for SpaceX’s services for an undisclosed price, which is in the tens of millions of dollars.

Elon Musk’s company has already transported ten astronauts to the ISS on behalf of NASA. But they will be the first private passengers to board the Dragon capsule, launched by the Falcon 9 rocket. Takeoff is scheduled for Wednesday from 8 pm on the US east coast (midnight GMT).

>> Read also: SpaceX spacecraft returns to Earth with ISS astronauts

In addition to Jared Isaacman, captain on board, three anonymous people will be on the voyage, selected through a process that began with an advertisement projected during halftime at the Super Bowl, an American sporting event. Hayley Arceneaux (29), medical assistant and childhood cancer survivor, Chris Sembroski (42), former U.S. Air Force working in the aviation industry, and Sian Proctor (51), earth science professor who nearly became an astronaut NASA in 2009, completes the crew.

A crew under surveillance

During the three days in orbit, your sleep, heart rate, blood and cognitive abilities will be analyzed. Tests will be carried out before and after the flight, to study the effect of the trip on their bodies.

The idea is to accumulate data for future private passengers. Because the stated objective of the mission is to open the doors of space to a greater number – although these remain for the moment only ajar for a privileged few.

“In the entirety of human history, less than 600 human beings have reached space,” recalled Jared Isaacman.

Many projects in progress

The space tourism sector is still in its infancy, but the year 2021 marked a turning point, with the multiplication of missions. They range from a few minutes in weightlessness to stays of several days on the International Space Station.

>> Read also: Chloé Carrière: “We could imagine that one day everyone could go to space”

– AX-1 (Axiom Space with SpaceX) –

In January 2022, three entrepreneurs will travel to the ISS, alongside an experienced former NASA astronaut. The mission, which is expected to last 10 days in total and dubbed Ax-1, is organized by the company Axiom Space, which has signed another three future flights with SpaceX.

They will evolve in the American segment of the ISS, where they will carry out scientific experiments.

– SPACE ADVENTURES (with SpaceX and Soyuz) –

SpaceX is planning another trip to orbit for four private customers, hosted by intermediary company Space Adventures. It was the latter who organized the trips of seven tourists to the ISS, between 2001 and 2009, aboard Russian rockets. The first customer was Dennis Tito in 2001, who paid $20 million for an eight-day stay on the ISS.

Thanks to a Russian Soyuz rocket, and also via Space Adventures, the Japanese Yusaku Maezawa is due to go to the ISS in December.

The company also announced a mission to the ISS in 2023 on a Russian rocket, for two participants, one of whom will have the opportunity to undertake a spacewalk.

– DEARMOON (with SpaceX) –

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is also expected to take a trip around the Moon, a priori in 2023, this time aboard the Starship rocket, still under development by SpaceX. The mission is called Dearmoon.

>> Read also: After four explosions, SpaceX Starship rocket manages to land

– SOYUZ –

Russia will send an actress and director to the ISS in October on a Soyuz rocket. The goal: to shoot the first fictional film in orbit and without gravity.

-GALACTIC VIRGIN-

Richard Branson’s company offers just a few minutes in space. A huge carrier plane takes off from a conventional runway and then drops a spacecraft led by two pilots.

It starts the engine until it exceeds 80 km altitude – the limit of space according to the US Army –, then descends gliding. Passengers can detach and float for a few moments in weightlessness.

The start of regular commercial operations is scheduled for 2022.

>> Read also: With Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson finally fulfills his dream of flying in space

-BLUE ORIGIN-

Jeff Bezos’ company also offers a few minutes experience in weightlessness, but over 100 km – the Karman line, which marks the beginning of the space according to the international convention.

The fully automated rocket lifts off vertically and the capsule detaches in flight, before falling back to Earth slowed by three parachutes and a retro-propeller.

>> Read also: Aboard his Blue Origin rocket, Jeff Bezos fulfills his space dream

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