The quest to get humanity back up and
eventually into the stars has long been an ambition for humanity. However,
doing so takes a hell of a lot work – and it needs money. That’s why the novel
concept of NASA looking at selling tickets
to ‘space tourists’ might not sound quite so wild. For a while now, the ideas
have been suggested, and now it might just be coming to fruition.
Of course, this isn’t exactly a new
idea: Russians were doing so when they charged some of the ultra-rich $20 million
a pop to head up to the International Space Station. Of course, they even
charged NASA themselves back when they found success with their Soyuz rockets.
The shoe is about to be put on the other foot, though, as NASA is seemingly
looking at the idea of a bit of good old space tourism itself.
of much needed income
It’s seen as a good way to help
continue to pay for expensive NASA projects. Indeed, there’s talk that public
financing for the ISS could stop come the 2020s, and other sources – such as
space tourism – would help to plug the gap. A recent meeting seen the proposal
happily backed by NASA. While still some way away from being a genuine reality,
it’s certainly closer than it might once have seemed.
SpaceX and Boeing – who
NASA now have access to with regards to their aircraft – will be carrying out
demonstrations of their crew capsules. All going well, they might even get the
go-ahead to take some astronauts up to the ISS. The goal of a first launch at
some time in early 2019 by SpaceX might sound ambitious, but the company
remains confident of making that time.
This would also mean that NASA would
no longer to keep giving money to the Russian Soyuz missions. By having their
own vessels to fly up on ‘home soil’, this would give them the chance to sell
it on to the rich and the famous. Indeed, this would blow away many of the
conventional offers present at the moment. Companies such as Virgin Atlantic
offer a few moments in space – for NASA, the aim is a whole lot longer.
Indeed, think how much you could
charge for a two-week stay on the ISS, or some form of space museum?
It’s these kind of ideas that will
likely become the long-term funding for such kind of projects. While space
travel is certainly a valued asset to humanity by many, it’s clear some see it
as a secondary priority to more pressing matters on this planet. Moves like
this, though, would allow those with the money to help fund the development of
more space development through actually taking part. Instead of public
financing, it would be a win-win. At the moment, though, it’s all just drifting
forward nice and slowly.