Space tourism

After receiving a request in our Twitter account (@GalileoGNSS) by one of our followers, it has been decided to create a section within the blog to answer question raised on the social media that are considered of general interest. All these posts will be tagged as “Other” as they are not directly related with Galileo.

The first question comes from Will Martin (@willbermartin): “What do you expect a Wales-based space portal would bring to the UK?”

This question was asked referring to a piece of news (read more…) where Wales it is said to be one of the potential location for a UK base for space tourism.

At this point we should distinguish two types of spaceflight, suborbital and orbital.

In Suborbital spaceflights, where vehicles designed to be launched horizontally, the spacecraft reaches space, but its trajectory intersects the atmosphere or surface of the gravitating body from which it was launched, so that it does not complete one orbital revolution. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, mentioned in the news, will offer this type of space flights.

In Orbital spaceflights, where vehicles are designed to be launched vertically, the spacecraft is placed on a trajectory where it could remain in space for at least one orbital revolution. Orbital spaceflights require more energy and of course are riskier for people than suborbital ones.

Several space tourism companies are developing a new fleet of orbital and suborbital vehicles to carry paying passengers. But the risks of space tourism and other private spaceflight missions must be clearly understood and addressed if the commercial space industry is to succeed.

Space tourism industry recognizes the environmental impact of its operations that may accelerate global warning. To mitigate this, the industry is already working on how to reduce CO2 emissions.

Due to the boost in the economy of the country where the spaceport will be built, several regions are interested in housing a spaceport. But it has to be taken into account that due to security and safety reasons spaceports must be built in isolated areas or near the ocean due to the possibility of debris falling during stage separation or to undesired launch failures.

There is no doubt that these trips are the beginning of a growing 21st century industry.

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