Main Menu

Space Stations

Space Travel and Space Stations - Virgin Galactica - Cheap tickets and Space flights

Back in the 19th century, the citizens around the world would have thought the idea of space travel was ludicrous. They only experienced space through fiction books that were written about the concept. It was considered an impossibility, not to mention dangerous. However, by the early 1900’s, scientist and inventors were seriously exploring the possibility of space flights. Extensive research and exploration was done, and finally their efforts paid off. In 1957, the Soviet Union launched a satellite into orbit around the Earth. Just a few months later, the United States launched a satellite even higher into orbit around the Earth, thus the space age began.

Spaceflight is the process of travelling to outer space. The Russian Soyuz program, the United States Space shuttle program, and the International Space station are programs which include manned space exploration. Rockets are the primary vessel for travelling to space. Spaceflights usually begin with the launch of a rocket that gives an early thrust to overpower the force of gravity and drive the spacecraft from the face of the Earth. After arriving in space, the motion of the spacecraft is covered by what is called astrodynamics, which is the study of space trajectories, especially as they connect to gravitational and propulsion effects. Spacecrafts can remain in space for as long as necessary to accomplish the mission. To get back into the atmosphere, the kinetic energy must be done away with in order for the craft to land safely. Therefore, unique ways to protect against astrodynamic heating have been invented. Many United States spacecrafts land in the water, while some of the Russian models were designed to touch down on land. A spacecraft goes down with a parachute and in some instances, they can be taken out of the air by other aircraft. Most of the time, space flights are paid for by the government and they are used for spy or weather satellites, space exploration, communication satellites, satellite navigation, and possible space tourism in the future.

Tickets for space flights in 2013 will be available online soon to purchase to travel from all the Space Stations.

Manned Spaceflights
On April 12, 1961, all of the efforts were rewarded as Russian Yuri Gagarin became the first human to launch into an orbital flight around the Earth. The United States was not far behind as Alan Shepard and Virgil Grissom became the first Americans to take orbital space flights. Throughout the 1960’s, both the United States and the Soviet Union continued to launch humans into orbit.

In May of 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced to the world that before the decade was completed, space travel would reach new heights and we would put a man on the moon. Therefore, the United States proclaimed that they would begin project Apollo with the goal of landing a human being on the surface of the moon. Both the Russians and Americans began creating vessels in preparation for a moon landing. However, it was the Americans who kept ahead in the race as they launched a space tryst and docked two craft into orbit. Unfortunately, the space program suffered a minor setback when, in January of 1967, the original crew of Apollo were killed in a launch pad fire. And later that year, a Russian cosmonaut was killed in a reentry accident. Even so, in 1968, the United States hurled the first Americans into lunar orbit. Finally, on July 29, 1969, the world sat mesmerized in front of their televisions as they watched Apollo 11 propel into space. Commander Neil Armstrong became the first person ever to set foot on the surface of the moon. Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins take the first steps on the surface of the moon in what was one of the most momentous events in the history of mankind. Armstrong’s historic word, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” is one of the greatest quotes in history. An American flag was placed on the surface of the moon as a reminder of the extraordinary achievement.

Space Stations

A space station is a large satellite prepared to sustain a human crew and created to stay in orbit around Earth for long periods of time. Space stations have been around since the 1970’s when they were developed as a base for launching experimental expeditions, conducting research, mending satellites, and other endeavors that have to do with space. Skylab was the first space station launched by the United States. It orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979 and was visited by astronauts three times. It was responsible for over 2000 hours of research. The Russians also launched Mir, which was a space station that was operational from 1986 to 2001. The International Space Station is a facility that was first developed in 1998 and is hoped to be finished sometime this year. It is in continual orbit around the Earth at a height of 200 miles. It goes by various parts of the world every 2 months, appearing frequently for up to two weeks. This amazing space station can even be viewed from Earth with the naked eye and is the largest artificial satellite ever to orbit the Earth. When viewing this space station, it looks like an enormous bright moving star. The space station allows astronauts the opportunity to research and perform experiments to help us understand the aspects of space travel. It can also be a place where spacecraft systems can be tested. The International Space Station is maintained by a crew of six astronauts and cosmonauts. It has kept an uninterrupted human presence in space since 2000.

Space Disasters
With all space flights, there are risks associated with them. The crafts contain a tremendous amount of energy for them to reach orbit. In rare occasions, catastrophic results can occur. Even though space is a rather conventional environment, there is the possibility of depressurization and possible equipment failure. As of 2010, there have been 18 accidents in four separate incidents which have resulted in the deaths of astronauts during space flight missions. A memorial site sits at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex as a reminder of the brave men and women who lost their live in the line of duty.

Probably the worst disaster in the history of space travel was on January 28, 1986 when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded just 73 seconds after launch. This disaster was viewed by millions of people, including many schoolchildren, on live television. 7 people lost their lives, including Christa McAuliffe, who was going to be the first teacher in space. Even after the enormous explosion, the cockpit remained intact, but any hope of survivors vanished when the craft crashed into the water at 200 mph.

A more recent tragedy of space travel was in 2003 when the Space Shuttle Columbia was lost as it reentered the atmosphere. The craft broke apart, scattering its remains throughout Texas and Louisiana. 6 Americans and 1 Israeli were killed in that disaster.

One of the most famous space travel mishaps which had a happier ending was in April 1970 when Apollo 13 was scheduled to perform a lunar landing. The crew consisted of James Lovell, John Swigert, and Fred Haise. 56 hours into the mission, the crew was asked to perform a routine oxygen tank stir. During this procedure, fan wires shortened, causing an explosion damaging the craft. The mission was designed to land on the moon, but the crew and everyone back at the command center quickly realized that the main goal now was just to get the crew home safely. Thousands of people at mission control worked on a plan so that the spacecraft could make it to Earth. There were many issues that were problems, such as water, oxygen, increased carbon monoxide levels, and power. 73 hours into the mission, flight control announced that they did indeed have a plan. The craft was powered up after being off for a long period of time. The world waited to see if the heat shield would hold up during reentry. Finally, after many tense moments, the crew splashed down gently in the waters of the Pacific.

Will Space Travel Ever be Completely Safe?
The dangers of space flights resurfaced when the nation remembered the 7 astronauts lost in the Challenger disaster 25 years ago on January 28. In the 30 years of space travel, NASA has launched 132 manned space flights, and two of them have been completely lost, The Challenger and the Columbia. Russia has performed around 100 manned missions, with 2 fatal accidents. There are many challenges that arise when launching a rocket out of the atmosphere. It can be dangerous to manufacture the enormous amount of energy required to get to space. The environment of space inflicts other trials as well, such as the high levels of radiation and fast-moving orbital debris. Space flights have what is called the life support system, which is a group of equipment that permits a person to survive in space. It provides air, water, and food for astronauts. The life support system also keeps the right body temperature and deal with human waste. It is essential to protect the body against dangerous external forces, such as radiation. In addition, returning home from outer space isn’t as easy as it seems. Reentry produces extreme temperatures that can burn through the craft’s exterior. Space travel is extremely expensive as you can’t just routinely perform tests flights like you can an aircraft. However, much like the aviation industry, which did not have a single fatality in 2010, the safety of space flights will continue to improve over time. Voyages to space will get safer as people become more knowledgeable and as technology continue to make huge advances. Even though it will be forever dangerous to travel into space, the risks will decrease over time. Experts contend that in the near future, space travel will be just as safe as other methods of transportation.

Space Tourism

One of the largest businesses in the world is tourism, which provides billions of dollars each year in the United States alone. However, currently the government is the only consumers for human space flights. That is about to change as tourism is getting ready to be taken to new heights. Plans for space tourism are underway so that the general public can purchase tickets to travel to space and back. The possibility of space travel for the general public has been around for many years, but the Challenger tragedy put a halt to the proceedings. Presently, studies are being conducted to see if this concept would be a good idea. Millions are people worldwide have contended that they would like to have the opportunity to travel to space as long as it was safe, reliable, and at an affordable price. In fact, the public is much more open to the idea of space flights than the experts. People today are curious about the universe outside of our atmosphere. Going to space would not just be for experienced astronauts, but also for ordinary citizens. They might want to take their summer vacation not in The Caribbean, but in outer space. Tourists can visit space for adventure, recreation, or on business. Millions of people visit space museums, space camps, or NASA to learn about space exploration. Plans are being made to make space trips available to orbit and possibly even stay at a Low Earth Orbit hotel. Research is making progress each year to make this happen. As the advances in technology increase, so will the safety associated with space travel.
Space travel has made huge strides since the first man made it to space in 1961. Just in the past 10 years advances have been made to send ordinary people into space. People also believe that this industry could give the struggling economy a significant boost. Workshops have been conducted among the general public and business leaders to discuss potential possibilities of travelling to space. One consideration should be space transportation vehicles and space facilities which are their final destination. Leaders most solve the problem of zero gravity sickness, so people will not spend their vacation nauseated; however, experts believe this is possible. Medicine is available that can help with sickness. Using a space station is very probable for a location for tourists. In addition to finding accommodations, the need will arise to provide an experienced crew and attendants and the role they will play. A fairly large crew is needed in order to meet the needs of everyone. The crew will need to possess people skills so they can effectively communicate with passengers. Life support devises will also need to be in all crafts, and flight insurance also needs to be taken into consideration. Therefore, many proceedings need to take place before space tourism can be routine. Sub-orbital trips are a possibility to begin the space tourism age. These will take less than an hour and people will remain in a space transportation vehicle. Another option is three orbit trips, all in the space transportation vehicle and lasting less than 5 hours. As people are more comfortable in journeying to space, tourism will expand to three day trips, staying at a Low Earth Orbit facility. And finally, there will be resort packages lasting for one or two weeks. In all instances, the space transportation vehicle and lodging facilities will need to make sure that they meet all standards, such as safety, privacy, toilets, showers, food and drink facilities, and medical attention if needed. Before travelling to space, passengers will need to undergo training to prepare them for their exciting journey. This could be fun for them, much like space camp. Like any business, once space tourism takes off, it will develop gradually. Currently, the price to travel to the International Space Station for one week is 20 to 35 million dollars. The industry will start small and then keep growing until it is a huge business. Tickets will begin very high, but will progressively fall to make it more affordable. It is time for citizens to advance into a whole new age as the time has come for space tourism.

Most of the space flights and tickets industry is paid for by the government, but now, private companies are popping up that are creating their own means for space exploration. One business is the British company Virgin Galactica. Galatica will begin to supply the general public with suborbital space flights.

Virgin Galactica will become the first space line to offer citizens who are not astronauts the opportunity to explore the outer world. Galatica will own and operate its privately built spacecrafts which are fashioned after Space Ship One. Virgin Galactica also hopes to eventually provide orbital manned space flights as well. The Galatica craft is expected to be able to seat six passengers plus two pilots. It was built in California, and was introduced to everyone in 2009. It has been researched for awhile and then in the near future, paying passengers will be permitted to take a journey just above the atmosphere. Sir Richard Branson, who leads Virgin Galactica, said that the beginning flights will be stationed in New Mexico, and then they will be extended throughout the world. In fact, the governor of New Mexico revealed the world’s first spaceway, which is nearly two miles long. An event was held to dedicate the facility and it was attended by many of the future astronauts of Galactica. They were even able to watch a flyover and landing by WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo, both crafts of Galatica. Galatica has five Spaceship Two and two WhiteKniteTwo in the works. Virgin Galactica is taken reservations as hundreds of people reportedly have signed up to take a flight. The cost for potential passengers is $200,000 with deposits starting at 20,000. The ride will last about 2 ½ hours. Visitors of the Galatica spaceship will be securely buckled in and their seats will recline flat after reaching suborbital space. The route of the Galatica vessel is aimed to overlap the Earth’s atmosphere at 70,000 feet, so there will only be a brief period of weightlessness. Virgin Galactica plans for the ship to be carried by an aircraft carrier, White Knight II, to about 52,000 ft. Then, Galatica plans for the ship, named Spaceship Two, to separate once it reaches the maximum height. The weightlessness will last only about 6 minutes, and then they will have 40 seconds to return to their seats. Virgin Galactica says that passengers will be able to take their seatbelts off and gently float about the cabin. Passengers aboard Virgin Galactica spaceships can expect comfortable, cushioned reclining seats and many windows, so they can get a perfect view of the Universe. To reenter the atmosphere, SpaceShipTwo folds up its wings and restores its initial position for an unpowered descent flight onto its final destination. Currently, this ship must land in the same location that it began. In addition, Virgin Galactica will promote SpaceshipTwo for sub-orbital space science missions and Galatica will promote WhiteKnightTwo for small satellite launch benefits. SpaceShipTwo will travel higher than its predecessor and will go beyond the boundary of space, and it will obtain a speed faster than fighter jets. In admiration of the television show Star Trek, Galatica will name the first two ships Enterprise and Voyager, and most people think that the name for the next ship needs to be Galatica. Eventually, Virgin Galactica will have competition, but it is sure to be the 1st to market this incredible feat. Galatica has spent millions of dollars because they are confident that the industry will explode. Virgin Galactica has already completed three successful test flights, so it is getting close to being ready. Galatica president Will Whitehorn said they missions went off without a hitch. Virgin Galactica has had a considerable experience with the aviation industry so this once in a lifetime opportunity will be sure to be memorable to all of mankind.

Common tourists have already been in space. In 2001, businessman Mark Shuttleworth became the first tourist to visit space. He visited the International Space Station. And since then, other tourists have taken a similar journey. So, the world is just on the verge of forming a completely new industry that will be one of the most exciting events in history.

Tickets for space flights will be available online soon to purchase to travel from all the Space Stations.