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Space Tourism: An Exciting Opportunity or a Threat to Humanity

Umesh Kurmi is a semi-qualified Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nepal with seven years of experience.

Lunar Landscape

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Introduction

Space tourism is another potential market segment of the aviation industry that delivers space travel experiences to tourists for recreation, leisure, and business purposes.

As of today, it is highly expensive and only affordable to billionaires but over time it may become affordable because of economies of scale and the emergence of competing technologies.


Cosmos

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Blue origin

It is a company set up by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. This company is formed with a vision of enabling a future where millions of people are living and working in space for the benefit of Earth. The company is working on its vision by developing partially and fully reusable launch vehicles that are safe, low cost, and serve the needs of all types of customers including civil, commercial, and defense.

The company's first spacecraft to explore space, named after American astronaut Alan Shepard, was New Shepard. On July 20, 2021, New Shepard set off for space travel. Its crew members were Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark, American pilot Wally Funk, and Dutch student Oliver Daemen. Wally Funk, age 82, was the oldest person while Oliver Daemen, age 18, was the youngest person to travel in space. Per seat charge for the crew members was $28 million.

New Shepard made its second flight on October 13, 2021. The flight attracted extensive attention for having actor William Shatner, at age 90 the oldest person in space, as a crew member.

Astronaut

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Virgin Galactic

It is an American spaceflight company set up by British entrepreneur Richard Branson. The company is formed with a vision of creating the safest and best customer experience through the operation of new generation, reusable space vehicles.

The company made its test flight in 2014 which crashed in the mid-air taking the life of 39-year-old co-pilot Michael Alsbury. Subsequently, the company developed another spacecraft called VSS Unity. Unity set off for space travel on July 11, 2021. The crew members were pilot David Mackay and Michael Masucci along with four passengers viz. Branson and Virgin Galactic employees Sirisha Bandla, Beth Moses, and Collin Bennet.

Crash Landing

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SpaceX

It is an American Company founded by Elon Musk to reduce space transportation costs to enable the colonization of Mars. The company was founded to revolutionize space transportation with the ultimate goal of making life multi-planetary.

SpaceX has allowed its Crew to be chartered for orbital flights for 3 days on 15 September 2021. The venture changed into Inspirational4 turning into the primary crewed orbital venture without an expert on board. The flight was chartered by billionaire Jared Isaacman where the amount paid is not disclosed. The other crew members were Sian Proctor, Hayley Arceneaux, and Chris Sembroski.

SpaceX

Space Tourism | Jeff Bezos vs Richard Branson vs Elon Musk | Dhruv Rathee

Space tourism

Pros of space tourism

1. Space tourism accelerates commercial activities. Manufacturing of aircraft and related products requires manpower and it is obvious that this will have a greater impact on the generation of employment opportunities.

2. Exploring space would protect us from potential risks and hazards that may be dangerous for our planet.

3. One can understand humanity from an exclusive perspective growing above petty politics, conflicts, successes, failures, and love-hate feelings.

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4. Widens the scope of technology apart from space missions to other domains like space tourism. Space exploration may help scientists predict the earth’s weather more accurately.

5. It is well known that the earth has non-renewable resources which can exhaust in a definite time. Scientists may be able to locate new minerals and different treasured substances in-universe and different planets.

6. Life in some other corner of the universe may be discovered. We can learn unique things from the life of other planets. Human research and development will be at another level.

7. An unimagined solution to overpopulation and pollution is possible through space tourism. We might sooner or later locate an area wherein people can live. This will be of great help to the already overpopulated and over-polluted Earth.

8. Open a brand new road for journey vacationers and people who love the thrill.

9. It will provide inspiration for new generations for more innovations.

10. It will provide a new view of our planet. People’s opinions about the earth may change after traveling space especially the politicians and businessmen. This could influence the decision they make in relation to border disputes, pollution, and climate change.


Intergalactic Travel Schedule

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Cons of space tourism

1. Industries and vehicles are polluting the earth. In the same way, space crafts will pollute the space. Every individual on the earth has to bear the impact despite they have traveled the space or not.

2. Harmful radiation from the sun may cause harm to space travelers. The appropriate study has not been made regarding this till now.

3. Lack of right law and insufficient protection protocols can make space journey tremendously risky. Companies engaged in this form of travel may fail to stick to protection protocols in a spree to accumulate greater clients.

4. It may be difficult for the countries to develop uniform laws, regulations, and safety protocols for the regulation of space travel. This may add complexity and leverage the risk factor. It may cause disputes between two countries when traffic in space increases.

5. Lots of money and resources are spent on space projects and the chances of failure are also high and many ventures in previous years have failed too. The money and resources may have been used for the alleviation of poverty. Pointless use of resources is necessitated by such experimentation and unsuccessful ventures which is simply a waste of resources.

6. It may promote bad opposition with those having advanced technology.

7. Space tourism is supposed to be affordable for super-wealthy human beings. One trip of Virgin Galactic cost $ 250,000 which is only two and half hour journey. After economies of scale cost may be reduced but at the same time emission of carbon and nitrous oxide increases too thereby increasing the risk of ozone layer depletion. This may terribly pollute the environment.

8. People may have to face fatal accidents and injuries. In addition, human beings have to face harsh situations and adapt themselves to unfriendly surroundings which may ruin their health. Spending lengthy hours in no gravity situations can be risky for the traveler’s cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system. By chance exposure to high-energy ionizing cosmic rays may increase the likelihood of cancer.

9. It is superb to assume human beings will colonize Mars. Going to space ignoring the issues of the earth is not a sustainable solution. There is nowhere in the solar system where you could locate the surroundings as pleasant as that obtainable on earth.

Excess Pollution

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Questions to be answered

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. When Unity set off for space travel?
    • July 10, 2021
    • July 11, 2021
    • July 12, 2021
    • July 13, 2021
  2. Who is the founder of SpaceX
    • Richard Branson
    • Jeff Bezos
    • Elon Musk
    • None of the above
  3. Who is the oldest person in space
    • Wally Funk
    • Oliver Daemen
    • Alan Shepard
    • None of the above

Answer Key

  1. July 11, 2021
  2. Elon Musk
  3. Wally Funk

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Umesh Kurmi

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