Flying into space, reaching the moon, being able to utter those words now branded in the minds of all fanatics and dreamers of interstellar travel: a small step for man, a big step for humanity.
It seems that it is no longer just a dream to fly into space , to be tourists in the galaxy and see with your own eyes what until now only imagination and cinema have allowed us to see.
Yes, we are talking about space tourism, about tourist travel in space for pure pleasure. A delight, and this seems obvious, reserved for a few, because as it is easy to imagine, space tourism does not go hand in hand with low cost …
To see us along were, among others, those of Virgin Galactic , with the dreamer founder Richard Branson, who evidently must have feasted on Star Trek, 2001 A Space Odyssey and the books of Jules Verne, but at least, as some, he had the common sense not to call the prototype of a spacecraft-tourist “Icaro”.
Instead, it is called SpaceShipTwo , a sort of “double plane” that carries another aircraft, the White Knight ., inside which passengers travel. When the SpaceShipTwo reaches 14-16,000 meters in height, the White Knight is dropped into the void in free fall for a few seconds, until then the super engines are turned on that will take the passengers to the edge of the atmosphere, right where the space begins. about 100 km high .
No, no video game experience with asteroids to shoot down and planets to dodge, but a spectacular free fall , with the fantastic experience of weightlessness.
How much it costs and the VIPs who will fly into space
Photo by Land Rover MENA.
Several pigs have to be broken to collect what is needed for space travel. Aspace flight from New Mexico aboard the White Knight costs around $ 250,000 . Of course, trifles for those who seem to be the first to experience flight as soon as the green light is given: it is rumored of Leonardo di Caprio , the couple Brangelina ( Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie ), Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga . Let’s hope they turn on at least one stereo …
The pros and cons of space tourism
Photo by Jeff Foust.
Surely the opening of new frontiers could set the stage for a new commercial branch , with all that derives from it, even if it is certainly an elite tourism.. It would be perhaps the most expensive 6 minutes in the world , but the problem, given the users, would not be this at all, but rather the pollution produced .
In fact, the main accusation against Mr Branson is that of investing in a project of total futility at the expense of unprecedented energy consumption : a stroll in the space of a few minutes in fact consumes the equivalent of double the energy needs of an American family in a year !
The dream of touching the sun with a finger is therefore not exempt from criticism, but the list of celebrities already ready to ride the White Knight, in addition to the approximately 600 passengers who have already booked their first flights, suggest that thedream of saving the planet is not worth as much as the possibility of observing with your own eyes the curved horizon of the earth and the stellar panorama.
photos of Ronrosano.
It is not exactly a precedent given that it is a week-long stay on the International Space Station , but Joseph Tito spent a good 20 million dollars in 2001 for his space travel, also booking a place in history as the first space tourist .
The first flight of Virgin Galactic instead, dating back to January 2013, was a success, as it reached an altitude of 22,000 meters in height and a speed of 2,000 kilometers per hour, equivalent to 1.4 Mach.
The crash of November 1, 2014
The first official flight was scheduled for 2014, it will probably be delayed a bit due to the crash of the White Knight which took place during the official test of November 1, 2014. Flown by the “mother ship” Spaceship Two , the White Knight once unhooked lost altitude and fell in the Mojave desert .
Unfortunately the accident cost the pilot his life , but the tycoon Richard Branson, after the usual condolences, said he was still confident: his plan to conquer space goes on.