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From Dreams Into Reality: Space Travel



The ability to journey into space, news about wonderful vacations of the future, and “space tourism” agencies opened one after the other... It seems that space travel, which was once the bread and butter of science fiction and an element of dreams, will soon be an ordinary part of our daily lives.





Space tourism is a term that defines space travel for leisure or as a hobby. Space travel is categorised as suborbital, orbital, and beyond the orbit (including Moon travel). Ranging from rocket launch events to going on a journey to a specific destination in space, space travel quickly eliminates borders. Throughout the adventure of space travel, which began with Yuri Gagarin on April 21, 1961, nearly 600 people have had the chance to go into space. These journeys, carried out as government missions between 1961 and 2001, took on a completely new form when, in 2001, American businessman Dennis Tito spent $20 million out of his own pocket and spent eight days at the International Space Station (ISS). Now, civilians could travel into space too. Arguably the most exciting news about space tourism was announced last year. In 2021, more than 15 civilians journeyed into space. Virgin Galactic, owned by Richard Branson, completed a six-person space flight in 90 minutes. The aerospace company Blue Origin, founded by the owner of Amazon Jeff Bezos, invited William Shatner, Captain Kirk from Star Trek, to its four-person spaceflight. Meanwhile, American businessman Elon Musk sent four people, one of whom was the flight crew, on a days-long journey into space aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Resilience on its Inspiration4 mission.




TOURISM RACE IN SPACE


As the popularity of space travel increases, space tourism agencies have started emerging as well. Prominent companies include Space Adventures, which was the first example of space tourism, and Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin for suborbital flights. Other significant players are Boeing and Axiom Space for orbital flights, BiGelow Aerospace which is building the first space hotel, ZeroG which offers zero-gravity flights on Earth, and SpaceX which will be organising Moon travel in the future. Space Perspective is currently developing a system which will carry passengers up to the stratosphere in 2024. Orion Span is making plans for its first space hotel “Aurora Station;” rumours have it that a 12-day vacation at this hotel will cost $9.5 million. News about space travel just keeps coming. Recently, NASA announced a new film starring Tom Cruise at the International Space Station (ISS) while Discovery Channel is planning to produce a reality show in space. The show “Space Hero” has already announced its prize of a trip to the space station and is already running campaigns.



NASA ANNOUNCED A NEW FILM STARRING TOM CRUISE AT THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION WHILE DISCOVERY CHANNEL IS PLANNING TO PRODUCE A REALITY SHOW IN SPACE.


A SCIENTIFIC VIEW ON SPACE TRAVEL


The farther one gets from the surface of the Earth, the more one has to orbit the Earth at a very high speed in order not to crash into the surface due to gravity. The closer the vehicle is closer to the Earth, the higher its speed needs to be. Such trips to the orbit can take a couple of days or weeks based on the distance to the orbit. Suborbital flights include an upwards thrust as the rocket is launched from the surface of the Earth, moves in an arch, and returns. This journey can take 2 to 3 hours. The Kármán line, defined as space beginning 100 kilometres above Earth's mean sea level, is named “suborbital.” A speed of nearly 28 thousand km/h is required to travel beyond this line; after that, suborbital flight is enough to return.



Considering the fact that the speed of the rocket needs to be nearly 40 thousand km/h, it can be understood how the cost of suborbital flights at 28 thousand km/h is relatively low. Let’s remember our basic physics: Imagine riding in a standard automobile. You push the gas pedal harder and accelerate the car. We feel our body being pushed back into the seat. This is caused by the law of inertia, which is the tendency to resist a change in velocity. Now, let’s imagine the same situation, only this time it’s happening in an upwards trajectory from the surface of the Earth at 28 thousand km/h, against gravity. Normally, our body is exposed to 1g gravity on the surface of the Earth; during this speed, this number increases up to 5g. The force of inertia is also known as “g force.” Due to increasing g force, blood quickly rushes down from the brain, depriving it of oxygen, leading to visual deficiencies and loss of consciousness. Other probable results of low gravity at certain heights include dysfunction of internal organs and of muscles and joints. To alleviate the effects of the g force, space travellers wear special gears called “gsuits” that reduce the force down to a tolerable 3-3.5g. The ambient pressure within the rocket is also regulated based on the conditions of the Earth. Physical and mental training is obligatory for space flights that put such a challenge on the human body; this period can be 3 days for suborbital tours, and 3 to 4 months for space travels beyond the orbit.

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