Space Tourism

Science • Space
Japanese billionaire announces that he will pay moon flight for eight people
Japanese billionaire announces that he will pay moon flight for eight people
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Flying to the moon just became a bit more realistic. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is offering eight seats on a flight around the moon - for free. He wrote on Twitter that the seats had already been paid for. At first, the billionaire only wanted to take artists. But now, everyone who does something creative is eligible.

It is not known how expensive the moon orbit will be. The launch is planned for 2023. But he wants to check the applications for it this month. Those who get through will have to expect an interview and other tasks. The medical checks will then take place in May.

The billionaire and his crew will probably be the first to fly to the moon since the last US Apollo mission in 1972. The prerequisite for this is that SpaceX can get them into space.

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OAC announces plans to start construction of private space station in 2025
OAC announces plans to start construction of private space station in 2025
Credit: Courtesy of YouTube / Gateway Foundation

According to the Orbital Assembly Corporation (OAC), the construction of the private space station named Voyager is expected to start in 2025.

The current design features a large ring structure that is planned to spin in order to create artificial moon-like gravity.

Planned for 2021-2024 is the construction of multiple tools to construct the space station in orbit.

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The first entirely private space crew will visit the International Space Station
Ax-1 mission crew
Ax-1 mission crew Credit: Axiom Space (Twitter Reproduction)

The proposed Ax-1 mission will use a SpaceX rocket to put three paying customers - American Larry Connor, Canadian Mark Pathy and Israeli Eytan Stibbe - into low-Earth orbit on the space station. Stibbe plans to do experiments for Israeli researchers, working with the Ramon Foundation and Israel's space agency. The crew will be led by former NASA astronaut and space station commander Michael López-Alegría.

Axiom hopes to arrange up to two trips per year, and the company also wants to build its own privately funded space station.

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Virgin Galactic reveals the cabin of SpaceShipTwo
The interior cabin of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo
The interior cabin of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Credit: Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic revealed the interior of its spaceplane on Tuesday. The cabin. a collaboration of Virgin Galactic with London design agency, Seymourpowell, has six tailored, teal-coloured seats and 12 cabin circular windows for astronauts to gaze at Earth from.

A ticket for the suborbital flight aboard the air-launched SpaceShipTwo costs $250,000.

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Virgin Galactic flies second SpaceShipTwo test at New Mexico spaceport, clearing the way for powered spaceflight
SpaceShipTwo "Unity" at rollout event on 19 February 2016
SpaceShipTwo "Unity" at rollout event on 19 February 2016 Credit: Ronrosano (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Virgin Galactic completed the SpaceShipTwo's second glide flight test in New Mexico on Thursday. The unpowered flight went off without a hitch and saw the spacecraft hit new speeds, as the company presses ahead with its testing program at Spaceport America.

The company announced that after completing a data review of Thursday's flight, it will begin preparing for full rocket-powered test flights.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Virgin Galactic said it expected to begin commercial operations during summer, and announced to shareholders that the company goal is to be profitable by next year.

Science • Space
Space Perspective plans to take tourists to the stratosphere
Space Perspective plans to take tourists to the stratosphere
Credit: Space Perspective

Space Perspective wants to make space tourism happen. The company plans to transport up to 8 tourists in a high-altitude, hydrogen-filled balloon to the stratosphere to get a view from an altitude of 100,000 feet. The ballon, called "Spaceship Neptune", has a pressurized cabin and will include both a bar and a restroom.

Test flights with research equipment will start in 2021 and, if all goes well, tourists can board the Neptune in three and a half years.