Have you ever dreamed of going to space?
With recent advances in commercial spaceflight, it’s becoming more possible for regular people to experience zero gravity.
This article will explore 8 exciting ways you could reach the final frontier someday.
1. Take a Suborbital Spaceflight With Companies Like Virgin Galactic
One of the most accessible ways to go to space is by taking a suborbital spaceflight on a vehicle like Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. On these flights, you’ll be launched up to 50-60 miles above the Earth’s surface, high enough to experience a few minutes of weightlessness. While short, it provides an unforgettable glimpse of space.
2. Visit the International Space Station as a Space Tourist
If you want a more extended stay in space, consider visiting the International Space Station. Companies like Axiom Space offer opportunities for private citizens to launch the ISS and live there for up to 30 days. During your stay, you’ll get to float freely, gaze at Earth from above, and conduct scientific research alongside professional astronauts. It’s an unforgettable adventure.
3. Train to Become a Professional Astronaut With Space Agencies
If you want to make space travel a career, consider applying to become a professional astronaut at space agencies like NASA or ESA. The selection process is highly competitive, as thousands apply every year for only a handful of spots. If accepted, you’ll go through years of intense training on spacewalking, robotics, survival skills, and operating complex spacecraft systems.
It’s challenging work, but also immensely rewarding to represent your country on missions advancing science and exploration. With hard work and dedication, you could be part of future expeditions to the Moon, Mars, or beyond.
4. Participate in Analog Astronaut Missions That Simulate Space Travel
Can’t become an astronaut? Consider joining analog astronaut missions run by organizations like NASA or Mars Society. These simulations send crews to live in habitats that mimic space stations or planetary outposts. You’ll wear spacesuits, eat space food, conduct experiments, and experience isolation like real astronauts.
While not actual space travel, these missions let anyone contribute to the future of space exploration. Participating provides great hands-on training while advancing the science and technology needed for long-duration spaceflight. With teamwork and dedication, you could gain the skills to thrive on a mission to Mars one day.
5. Experience Zero Gravity on Parabolic Airplane Flights
If you want to get a taste of weightlessness without going to space, consider booking a parabolic flight. These commercial flights perform special maneuvers that create short periods of microgravity, giving you about 20-30 seconds of weightlessness at the top of each parabola. Though brief, it lets you float freely and perform backflips like astronauts on the International Space Station!
Operators like Zero-G Corporation or Go Zero G provide these exciting flights to the public. While not cheap, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime way to cross “experience zero-g” off your bucket list. Just don’t eat a big meal before flying – vomiting is common in microgravity as your sense of balance gets confused. But the unforgettable feeling of floating is worth it.
6. Join a Future Lunar Tourism Mission With Companies Like SpaceX
In the coming years, private companies like SpaceX plan to offer civilian missions that will take people around the moon. While timelines and details are still evolving, SpaceX’s Starship vehicle aims to provide an opportunity to travel farther than any human since the Apollo era. The journey would give passengers a close-up view of the lunar surface through panoramic windows as they loop around the far side of the moon.
Though the price is sure to be astronomically high at first, the chance to be one of the first lunar tourists could make for the ultimate space-themed vacation. Just be prepared for the risks involved in strapping into a rocket for several days versus a quick zero-g plane ride. But for deep-pocketed adventure seekers, it may be worth being among the first to see Earth rise over the moon’s horizon in person.
7. Fly to the Edge of Space in a High-Altitude Balloon Capsule
If rockets seem too risky, high-altitude balloons offer a more gentle ride to the upper limits of the atmosphere. Companies like World View provide flights in a luxury pressurized capsule lifted by a giant helium balloon. Passengers get views of the black sky and curved Earth from over 100,000 feet up. Though not technically in space, it’s high enough to see the thin blue atmosphere and the darkness of space above.
Flights typically last 6-12 hours for a more leisurely experience than a rocket launch. And there are minimal G-forces involved thanks to the gentle ascent and descent under the balloon. While still exclusive, it costs a fraction of an orbital flight. For an awe-inspiring perspective on Earth and an entry in the near-space flight history books, a high-altitude balloon trip could satisfy adventurous spirits with both wanderlust and a fear of rockets.
8. Invest in an Emerging Space Tourism Company
As commercial spaceflight takes off, investing in promising space tourism companies could pay dividends. Companies like Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, and SpaceX are driving down launch costs, making space more accessible. Though early tickets are expensive, prices should fall as reusable rockets and economies of scale reduce overhead. Investing now in leaders like Virgin Galactic or innovative startups could generate substantial returns as space tourism scales up.
You might also invest in enabling technologies like efficient rocket engines, advanced heat shields, space suits, or zero gravity amenities needed to make space travel routine. By financing the space tourism infrastructure early on, your investment could appreciate substantially over time. Who knows – your funds might help build the orbiting hotels and lunar resorts of the future. Just be wary of overambitious claims and evaluate companies rigorously before investing. With diligence and patience, your investment could mature into a golden opportunity.
Is There Any Way to Go to Space?
Yes, there are a few options for private citizens to go to space. The most common way is by purchasing a seat on a spacecraft by companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, or Virgin Galactic. These companies offer suborbital and orbital spaceflights for tourists and researchers. You can also participate in analog astronaut training programs or competitions like NASA’s Astronaut Selection Program to get the chance to go to space.
How Much Does It Cost to Go Into Space?
The cost to go to space as a tourist can range from $200,000 to $55 million depending on the type of flight and experience. Suborbital flights with companies like Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic cost around $200,000-500,000. Orbital flights to the International Space Station on SpaceX’s Dragon capsule cost around $55 million. Prices vary based on factors like flight duration, altitude, and training.
Are You Legally Allowed to Go to Space?
Yes, there are no legal restrictions for private citizens to go to space as tourists on commercial spacecraft. The FAA regulates commercial spaceflight in the U.S. and issues licenses to companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic. As long as you meet the medical requirements, purchase a ticket, and sign waivers, you can legally go to space as a tourist. The only legal restrictions apply to government astronauts visiting the ISS.
There are a few options now available for private citizens to achieve their dream of going to space. While quite expensive, purchasing a seat aboard a spacecraft from companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic can provide a suborbital or orbital spaceflight experience. With medical clearance and some training, legal and regulatory hurdles have been removed for private space tourists. If you have the means, going to space is now possible with proper preparation and booking a flight.