ISRO gears up for space tourism takeoff, expects commencement by 2030

Space tourism is no longer a pipe dream of billionaires at least, with more and more private investments set to come in

Nuha Bubere New Delhi
ISRO gears up for space tourism takeoff, expects commencement by 2030

4 min read Last Updated : Mar 17 2023 | 11:47 PM IST

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Do you want to blast off to space? Six years down the line, you may very well find yourself in a spacesuit travelling through the galaxy. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced that it expects to commence space tourism by 2030 for a cost of Rs 6 crore per passenger.
Work is in full swing for India to have its very own space tourism module, which is safe, durable, and reusable. And, people who travel to space could also call themselves astronauts, according to ISRO.

It’s too early to comment on whether the proposed space travel would be orbital or sub-orbital.
However, considering the module's high price tag of Rs 6 crore, it is likely that sub-orbital space travel would be the option.

The main difference between orbital and suborbital flights is the speed of the travelling object.
In essence, suborbital trips involve a brief glimpse of space before returning to earth while an orbital flight includes maintaining an orbit. In order to avoid falling down to earth, it entails flying incredibly quickly around the globe.

We are currently in a new era of space tourism, with an increasing number of people leaving earth for limited periods, thanks to private companies that specialise in such endeavours.
And in the times to come, regular long-duration space trips may even become a reality.

Space tourism has seen increasing demand and fascination with the world’s top billionaires — including Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk — starting trials for space travel.
Space tourism, which was viewed as something straight out of a science fiction movie, is now becoming a reality.

Richard Branson created history in July 2021 by launching ahead of competitor Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, with a fully-crewed Virgin Galactic spacecraft.
In July 2021, British billionaire Richard Branson created history by launching a full-crew Virgin Galactic spacecraft, ahead of competitor Bezos’ Blue Origin.

Branson's successful mission wasn't simply a victory for 'Billionaires in Space'.
It also signalled the beginning of a new age that could allow amateur astronauts to travel to space outside of government programmes. This would help open up the space industry.

Depending on a company’s technological capabilities, the features that space tourism offers and the cost per person can vary dramatically.
As a result of this disparity, there are noticeable differences in the price, experience, and even the risk of becoming a space traveller.

For instance, Blue Origin launches vertically like the majority of rockets, whereas Virgin Galactic launches its rocket-powered spacecraft from the belly of an aircraft.
Although these two companies — each of which has launched passengers into space — are the only suborbital enterprises approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for launches, other businesses are gearing up for takeoff.

Since SpaceX is an orbital spacecraft and Bezos' Blue Origin and Branson's Virgin Galactic are suborbital, Musk's trip package is roughly 200 times more expensive than the other two.
The extent of orbital space tourism was confined to a few missions that were done using the Soviet Soyuz spacecraft by the International Space Station.

But SpaceX has now entered this field with the launch of the Crew Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket.
For the first time, SpaceX sent two NASA astronauts into orbit and brought them back, making the mission not only historic for Musk's business but also for the American space agency.

SpaceX managed to accomplish what had previously only been done by government bodies: Sending people into orbit.
The successful launch of three different astronaut flights by SpaceX has pulled down the price of space travel by millions and greatly benefited NASA.

SpaceX is also developing its upgraded Starship rocket. That is the top goal for Musk. He wants to create a fully-reusable rocket system that can catapult 100 passengers or tonnes of goods at once.
Bezos has also set his sights on the future. Like Elon Musk's SpaceX, Blue Origin, too, aims to assist NASA in returning to the moon by developing space infrastructure.

To compete with SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, Blue Origin is developing the enormous New Glenn rocket.
But Bezos’ Blue Origin recently suffered a setback and had to halt operations for the time being.

The company is now looking to make a complete recovery and get back into shape by the end of 2023.
There is still much to be done in the development of space tourism.

Even though Bezos, Branson, and Musk are established names in space technology, a lot of new competitors are emerging.
Perhaps, this will pave the way for lowering the cost of space tourism, thus allowing more people to enjoy space travel.

Topics :ISROspace tourism industryScience

First Published: Mar 17 2023 | 11:47 PM IST

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