SpaceX plans to send about four private citizens into space to orbit around Earth sometime at the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022. The spaceflight company declared an agreement on Tuesday with Space Adventures, a tourism business for space that has supported seven different private citizens go on trips to (and from) the International Space Station using Russia’s Soyuz rocket and spacecraft.
Working for many Years
Space Adventures stated the price of the mission will not be revealed and the two companies were light on other details, such as what type of preparation the tourists will have to endure. The companies did point out on Tuesday that the tourists will board the human-rated version of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft and that they will orbit Earth at least two to three times the roughly 250-mile height of the ISS.
SpaceX has worked for the last few years creating and testing out this latest version of Dragon as per a contract with NASA to take astronauts to and from the ISS, after years of utilizing the spacecraft to shuttle cargo to the space station. Recently, the private spaceflight company finished the second important flight test of the Crew Dragon, as it’s called, which exhibited the capsule’s ability to desert an exploding rocket.
Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO has teased the idea of space tourism as a business for some years now; however, he’s been extra optimistic about how soon that could happen. The company declared in early 2017 that it had received secret payments from two customers for a trip around the Moon using Crew Dragon and the Falcon Heavy rocket. SpaceX stated at the time that the trip would take place by the end of 2018. However, in September 2018, the company declared that it now wishes to send one of those passengers and Japanese billionaires, Yusaku Maezawa around the Moon using the company’s massive, yet-to-be-engineered Big Falcon Rocket.
Similarly, SpaceX had to delay the first Crew Dragon flight with NASA astronauts as it went through the process of certifying the spacecraft with NASA. Now, that flight is supposed to take place later this year.
Some information about the Craft
Other private companies involved in spaceflight are striving to be into the space tourism market. Virgin Galactic by Richard Branson and Blue Origin Jeff Bezos are in the line, though both of those companies are claiming far briefer experiences. Virgin Galactic explains its plans to send its first space tourists up later this year where they will be subjected to a few minutes of weightlessness in the company’s spaceship. Blue Origin is claiming to customers a similar period in space, though in a spacecraft that’s more similar to SpaceX’s Dragon capsule.
While there is not much information about the newly-declared flight, SpaceX has provided details about the inside of the Crew Dragon spacecraft that is going to take the tourists for a trip around the Earth. The capsule’s interior has a touch of minimalism, with a few fitted seats and a line of touchscreen panels. The spacecraft has windows; however, they’re not as large as the ones Blue Origin built into its capsule. SpaceX has also displayed sleek, customized spacesuits and helmets that Crew Dragon passengers will use. The suits are less bulky than past designs; however, are still pressurized, cooled, and flame resistant. They are integrated touchscreen-compatible gloves and will get locked into the seats for the ride up to space.
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