The famous American physicist Lee Dubridge, who made a great contribution to the development of nuclear weapons, once remarked: "A person will endure any hardships of space travel, except, perhaps, their cost." But the first thoughts about commercial space flights appeared long ago, back in the sixties of the last century. But, at the dawn of astronautics, such ideas were rejected.
Only in 1986, at a meeting of the International Astronautics Congress, a report was read on the topic "Probable economic consequences of the development of space tourism." Both scientists and large businessmen have shown interest in the commercialization of space. For some, it was an opportunity to get decent money at the expense of space tourists, for others - to visit space at their own expense.
In January 1986, Christa McAuliffe, an American history and English teacher from New Hampshire, was to become the first space tourist. She became the winner of a huge competition, with 11, 000 applications submitted to become the first space tourist. After a stubborn three-month training session, McAuliffe was assigned to the crew of the reusable Space Shuttle Challenger.
The start was scheduled for January 28th. The disaster happened immediately after the start. The space shuttle exploded due to a malfunctioning fuel tank in the 73rd second of flight. All seven crew members were killed, including Christa McAuliffe. By the way, Apple founder Steve Jobs also took part in the selection, but he did not qualify for the final application.
In 1990, professional Japanese journalist Akiyama Toehiro went into space. He was preparing for the flight in the Soviet Union at the Yu. A. Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. The flight was paid for by the Japanese television and radio company TBS. The cost of the space "excursion" cost, according to various sources, from 25 to 37 million dollars. In orbit, Akiyama Toehiro was 7 days 21 hours 54 minutes.
A year later, the famous British chemist Helen Sharmen visited space. An agreement was concluded between the Soviet Union and Great Britain, Sharmen received training at Star City, and on May 18, 1991, she went into space together with Anatoly Artsebarsky and Sergei Krikalev. A few days later she was awarded the Soviet Order of Friendship of Peoples.
But American Dennis Tito became the first space tourist to pay for his own flight. This pleasure cost the businessman $ 20 million. Dennis Tito went into orbit on April 28, 2001, at that time he was already 51 years old. He was in space for 7 days 22 hours 04 minutes 08 seconds. Returning to Earth, Tito stated that it was the greatest adventure of his life.
As part of the crew, Tito was not an ordinary passenger. He did not hesitate to do the most "black" job, so that the astronauts had more time for research. Not without incidents: once a businessman hit his head on a hatch, receiving a minor injury. During his flight, Dennis Tito orbited the Earth 128 times. It turns out that he had to pay more than $ 150, 000 for each round.
The example of the American turned out to be contagious, a huge number of wealthy people declared their readiness to pay for the flight. And space tourism has become quite widespread, despite the fact that the cost of the service has doubled, and for an additional 3 million, you can even make a spacewalk.
Some private companies, for example, Bigelow Aerospace from the United States and the Russian firm Orbital Technologies began to develop a project to create space hotels in which space tourists could comfortably live. But, it has not yet been possible to put their ideas into practice due to financial difficulties.
Renowned researcher Martin Ross is confident that in the coming years, up to a thousand tourists a year will be sent into space. At the same time, Ross fears that this will not only become an additional source of funding for space exploration, but also pose a huge threat to the ecology of our entire planet, due to emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere.
Japanese company First Advantage has announced that another service will soon be available - a wedding in space. "Only" for two and a half million dollars. True, the flight itself will not last long - one hour.
The number of tourists able to pay tens of millions of dollars for a flight is not endless. Therefore, more budget options are provided. Virgin Galactic is already promising to make the dream come true for just $ 200, 000 per person in WhiteKnightTwo. The company has already started accepting applications, hundreds of those who wish have declared their readiness to pay for the flight. I even had to sign up in line and patiently wait for my dream to come true.