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

SpaceX’s turn to embark on space tourism. A rocket from Elon Musk’s company is expected to boost four passengers on Wednesday, who will spend three days in space. Launched for the first time in 2001, missions of this type multiply in 2021.

It will be the first mission to send only complete novices into orbit around Earth, without a professional astronaut on board. baptized inspiration4, she 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 is normally expected to 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, 38-year-old American, head of a financial services company and experienced pilot, hires SpaceX services for an undisclosed price, but 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.

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

In addition to Jared Isaacman, captain on board, three anonymous people will be on the voyage, selected through a process that began with an ad aired during the Super Bowl halftime, an American sporting event. Hayley Arceneaux (29), attending physician and childhood cancer survivor, Chris Sembroski (42), a former US Air Force officer who works in the aviation industry, and Sian Proctor (51), an Earth science professor who almost became NASA astronaut in 2009, complete the crew.

A crew under surveillance

During the three days in orbit, 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 all of human history, less than 600 human beings have made it into 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 multi-day stays 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 businessmen will travel to the ISS, alongside an experienced former NASA astronaut. The mission, which should last 10 days in total and named Ax-1, is organized by the company Axiom Space, which signed three other future flights with SpaceX.

They will evolve on 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, organized 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 should 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 perform a spacewalk.

– DEARMOON (with SpaceX) –

The Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa should also 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’s Starship rocket manages to land

– SOYUZ –

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

-GALACTIC VIRGO-

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

This turns on the engine until it exceeds an altitude of 80 km – the limit of space according to the American army –, then glides down. Passengers can detach and float for a few moments without gravity.

The start of regular commercial operations is scheduled for 2022.

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

-ORIGIN BLUE-

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

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

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

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