As children, many of us once dreamed of climbing into a rocket and exploring outer space. What could be more exciting than discovering extraterrestrial life (friendly, of course!), visiting other planets, or even just orbiting the earth and watching the stars?
Of course, this is an unrealistic fantasy for the vast majority of us. You need at least a bachelor’s degree in science, math, or engineering. In addition, add another three years of experience flying a jet aircraft and an intense physical exam. In short, having an ordinary civilian launch into space was a distant pipe dream.
Billionaire Elon Musk created SpaceX to support his own dream – to colonize Mars in the event that Earth’s limited natural resources could no longer support the overpopulation of our planet. Musk has spent two decades trying to turn this dream into a reality, and it finally looks like it’s paying off.
For those who don’t know, SpaceX is a privately-owned company that has grown exponentially in recent years. This is in stark contrast to NASA, which is a government-owned and funded organization. SpaceX receives most of its income from space launches of commercial and military satellites. In fact, NASA is one of SpaceX’s best customers, meaning they collaborate on a lot of projects.
One of Musk’s most noble goals is his desire for more affordable space travel for the average consumer. For that to happen, it’ll require billions of dollars in investments from rich tourists. At the moment, funding this new technology is expensive because the technology is in its infancy, in low production, and requires more testing. Over time, this won’t really be true anymore.
In these next few years, it’s not difficult to imagine the rise of space tourism. As SpaceX receives more funding from wealthy investors who want to travel into outer space, we may start to see average people orbiting Earth or our Moon the moment it becomes a lot more affordable.
The 2021 Plan to Launch Civilians into Space
In a recent announcement given by SpaceX, a plan to launch a Dragon spacecraft with billionaire Jared Isaacman at the helm is already in the works and aims to launch before the end of the year. Isaacman, an experienced jet pilot, decided to donate the other three seats to the general public.
Isaacman plans to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with donations gained from a fundraiser that’ll determine one of the lucky three civilians travelling to outer space. A female health-care worker at the hospital will also earn a seat, as will one entrepreneur with an online business. A parallel can be drawn between Isaacman and Willy Wonka, in a way.
Of course, these three lucky people will be provided with astronaut training, which will involve “emergency preparedness training, spacesuit and spacecraft ingress and egress exercises, as well as partial and full mission simulations.””
Besides this training, it’s important to note that there are some shifting boundaries here. What was once a requirement in order to demonstrate the skills and knowledge necessary to be an astronaut – education and flight experience – is now being replaced by automation. Technology has advanced far more swiftly than any of us could possibly have imagined.
From the sounds of things, some of what was once found in classic science fiction novels will realistically turn into scientific possibilities in the near future. Maybe not for us, but certainly for our children or grandchildren.
As it stands, this means that many of those kids who still fantasize about exploring space will actually be able to realize those dreams… one day.
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