What is meaning of term ‘Space tourism’?

Ever wanted to travel to outer space and watch our blue planet from the perspective of an outsider? Well, space tourism is all about experiencing outer space and the universe in all its ethereal magnificence. It is recreational space travel. It can become a reality through government-owned vehicles or through private companies. The world’s first space tourist was American businessman Dennis Tito back in 2001 when he ‘toured’ outer space. There is a backstory behind it. To generate income for the maintenance of the aging space station Mir, MirCorp, a private venture in charge of the space station decided to sell the trip to Tito. But even as he paid for the same, a decision was made to deorbit Mir. That’s how the destination changed to ISS. Following this, many joined the bandwagon and flew as a ‘spaceflight participant’ to the ISS for recreation. These were orbital space tourism. Presently, the focus is largely on suborbital space tourism. In sub-orbital rocket-powered flight, the rockets bring tourists into space but will not take a full orbit around the earth. Space tourism is still expensive. Business magnates Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson had recently travelled to outer space as tourists. Meanwhile business magnate Elon Musk’s company Spacex has started sending tourists into space already. The first space tourists sent by the company returned to Earth in 2021 after orbiting the Earth for three days. They flew 590 km farther from the planet. Further, NASA along with its private partner, has launched Starliner, a space capsule, that will take people to the Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

Seen here is Richard Branson floating in zero gravity on board Virgin Galactic’s passenger rocket plane VSS Unity after reaching the edge of space.

Picture Credit : Google 

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