Space tourism may be vocabulary to majority of people alive today. In well developed countries however, it is turning out to be the next must die for holiday experience for world billionaires’. It is expensive, adventurous, exciting, stunning and absolutely un-exploitable. Since the first space tour in 2001, the rich have stamped their foot on the fact that what they can do, the poor cannot and that where they can go, the poor will not reach either. Do not want to be in the same grounds with the poor, and the poor do not have what it takes to play in the same league with the rich. In the question of fun, entertainment and leisure, the rich will take extra ordinary measures to do what they enjoy doing in seclusion while at the same time, making not only news but history.
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It is no surprise that in the just past decade, individual billionaires such as Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic and Paul Allen of Microsoft among other few names have seen their fortunes privately propel them to moon, while the key focus on this paper has been the seven (7) up to date space tourists, among them Dennis Tito. There are no limits to the extents these individuals will go to make their dreams come true.
There are challenges facing this industry and the objective of this paper is to champion for change towards the better of this industry. Chief in the subject of this paper is development of a new space vehicle for future space travels. Indeed, one of the ways to solve a problem is by ignoring it but the only way to solve this is by taking action and in this understanding, development of a space vehicle is not only necessary but unavoidable, not only a viable venture but an honorable accomplishment.
Table of Contents
2.1.1 Introduction 4
Development of New Space Vehicle for Future Space Tourism 4
2.1.2 History of Space Tourism 5
2.1.3 Present day Space Tourism 6
2.1.4 Challenges in Present day Space Tourism 11
2.1.5 Viability of Development 12
3.0 Conclusion 12
Works Cited 13
Development of New Space Vehicle for Future Space Tourism
Spencer and Rugg (12) define tourism as tour made for amusement, fun and relaxation or commercial purposes. People who travel and stay away from their places of residence for more than twenty four hours but less than a year with goals as outlined above are considered tourists. One could visit a coastal resort, a foreign country, an amusement park, an animal orphanage, a camp site or a historical monument among other sites with regards to where one feeds their amusement. Globally, tourism has grown outrageously over time. In fact, in 2008, well over 900 million (nine hundred million) international tourists were recorded (Goeldner and Ritchie, 19). Receipts amounting almost US$ 1 trillion (one trillion US dollars) were accounted for. According to the Great Britain Parliament, this was an increase of about 2% with relation to records of the previous year, 2007 (24). Tourists only go to attraction sites. There is little development in tourism in terms of attraction sites and therefore as time passes on, outgoing tourists shall literary exhaust the available tourist sites.
If any community, country or company is going to keep enjoying revenue from tourism, they are left with no option but to invent and explore. At the wake of the 21st century, attempts towards such efforts of invention and exploration have not been taken for granted. In Dubai for instance, construction of the palm islands (the only manmade islands on Earth) in the beginning of the millennium has attracted bursting numbers of tourists, making Dubai the largest tourist destination in the Globe (Conrady and Buck, 27). What happens when those that are willing and able to be there have been there? There is no more attraction left. Tourists find no pleasure in revisiting a site. The solution to this is unquestionably more invention. On the bit of exploration; land, water and space are the chief ingredients. There may not be much left to discover on land and water but every extra bit of exploration into space has left astronomer’s mouths agape. In 2003, during a space survey by astronomer Mike Brown, Chad Trujillo and David Rabinowitz at Palomar Observatory’s Samuel Oschin telescope, a new dwarf planet was discovered. It was named Eris in 2003 (Collins and Powell, 81). According to leads from NASA, every effort to build a better telescope is literary equal to a new special discovery. Out of human quest for knowledge and experience, discovery hasn’t just been enough. In this understanding, a new form of tourism has come to birth; Space Tourism. Space tourism may be vocabulary to majority of people alive today. In well developed countries however, it is turning out to be the next must die for holiday experience for world billionaires’. It is expensive, adventurous, exciting, stunning and absolutely un-exploitable.
2.1.2 History of Space Tourism
The history of Space Tourism draws us back to the period just after the Second World War. Countries healing the aftermath of war were as well seeking recognition and acknowledgement achievement. The soviet wasn’t lagging anywhere behind. In 1960, Soviet authorities dreamt together and joined hands to live the dream. They wanted to go to space. Not looking back, a program by the name Soviet Space Program was launched. Twenty men were selected were selected from the Soviet Air Force, among them Yuri Gagarin. These were prospective cosmonauts (Dillingham, 39). In the next couple of months, they were to be intensely trained and tested. They were subjected to various physical and psychological experiments. By the end of the experiment, Yuri and Gherman Titov qualified for the tour. On the other hand, aeronautical engineers were working on designing the first space ship to host the two men on their tour to space. The Soviet spaceship named Vostok 1 was the automobile behind this tour. Poorly developed in relation to today’s space ships, an anonymous writer describes it as, “a tin-can sitting on a bomb”. The journey was designated for 1961. Everything basically went according to plan. On 12th April 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first man to set out on a tour to space. It was such a bold step to take given no one had ever left our home Earth before. How does it feel? Shall he make it back? Could he meet God? These must have been the questions in peoples’ minds. Their answers were to be answered in a few minutes.
One hundred and eight minutes later, Gagarin was back and the rest is history. America in its never dying dream could not stand the achievement of Soviet (Dillingham, 93). The designed a more complicated ship and took a more risky step. Apollo 11 was headed for moon. No one believed it, the world stared in amusement. An American Air Force Pilot, Neil Armstrong, among other crew members were the travelers in this mission. On 20th July 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the surface of moon. Apollo 11 had left Earth on 16th July the same year in Florida and on 24th July, it landed back to Earth in the Pacific Ocean. Other legends had been born. America had beaten Soviet in the Cold War Space race (Kortenkamp and Fox, 114). This accomplishment was a feat in Space Exploration and the key opening to space tourism.
2.1.3 Present day Space Tourism
With the increase in number of world millionaires and billionaires, there has come a human distinction on basis of class or caste. Lives of individuals today differ more than any other period in history. Where we live and how we live, when we eat and what we eat, what we enjoy and where we enjoy it are the defining lines of the class to which one belongs. The rich do not want to be in the same grounds with the poor, and the poor do not have what it takes to play i9n the same league with the rich. In the question of fun, entertainment and leisure, the rich will take extra ordinary measures to do what they enjoy doing in seclusion while at the same time, making not only news but history (Otto, 78).
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It is no surprise that in the just past decade, individual billionaires such as Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic and Paul Allen of Microsoft among other few names have seen their fortunes privately propel them to moon. There are no limits to the extents these individuals will go to make their dreams come true. At this point, it is worth discussing the present day space tourists, their preparation for the tour and the tour itself.
To begin with, is the world’s first Space tourist Dennis Tito of America. Sixty year old Dennis’s visit came following the just collapsing Soviet Union. The Soviet was running bankrupt and one sure way to get back to its feet was to raise lump sum amounts by offering private space visits for up to US$ 20 (twenty US million dollars). Dennis Tito a former engineer at NASA then was in for the deal (Pelt, 34). He paid the sum and he was to take a three week intensive training on cosmonaut. The Soviet on the other hand is preparing the ship the will incubate the journey man with the rest of the crew to the only resort in space, the International Space Station (ISS). The Soyuz TM-32 is the craft in focus. It has been designed by the Soviets. It is spacious enough to comfortably host three individuals. On 28th April 2001, the day of departure, there are three men in the crafts belly, one of them Dennis Tito the space tourist and two Russian trained astronauts. Soyuz cruises problem free into space and docks automatically into its destination, the ISS, two days after departure. After 9 days, the crew is back to earth and the safely land. Not much is told on whether or not the ship developed any mechanical difficulties but unproved sources say that in his speech back home, Tito said he got scared at some point when the craft did not “respond as instructed” technically, on their way back home, but the God of the universe saved them.
Mark Shuttleworth, an African entrepreneur and South African to be precise, became the Second to travel to space as a private tourist (Pelt, 41). Mark, born in Free State South Africa studied in African schools for all his education (Pelt, 42). He went to college for a degree in the University of Cape Town where he graduated with a degree in Finance and Information Systems. Being an entrepreneur, he has been involved in a series of investments from which he has managed a worth of well over US$ 225 (two hundred and twenty five million dollars). By 2002, Mark felt rich enough to up his game with regards to entertainment and recreational activities. His goal was to reach space, and go down in history as the World’s second Space tourist. The rocket for the journey this time round is Soyuz TM booster, a little modified compared to Tito’s ship. On board to the ISS is an equal number of crew. The name of the mission is Marco polo and according to Barmin, the chief engineer in charge of the launch pad, there is no cause for alarm as everything is under control. Barmin says, “Everything is proceeding normally and quietly.” For this reason, the Journey commences on the designated date, on April 25th 2002 (Rycroft, 37). Eleven (11) days into the journey, crew is back on Earth and Mar reports that he is sure to fly again as opportunities in life keep knocking on our doors. He describes it as a tremendous experience of leisure and learning, emphasizing that his wish is to learn more. There are no complains by any members of the crew but often, silence should not be taken for contentment.
After the first two private tourist visits to space, five more individuals have joined this list. Greg Olsen, an American born and raised in Brooklyn, is known to have lived both phases of poverty and riches in his life. He is known to have joined the Army for inability to maintain his grades high in high school. Later, after thorough counseling, he joins college and as if he was an all time academic star, he graduates with a Master’s degree in Material Science. Greg is a go getter, a large risk taker in investment and out of his personality; he becomes the third space tourist when he and two crew members set out on their tour to the ISS on 1st October 2005 (Spencer and Rugg, 56). Through the eleven days of their tour, the crew is traveling in the Soyuz TMA-7, a modification of Marks Craft.
However, this time, the space tourist is not going to be silent and describe everything as not even awesome but at least okay. Olsen steps out of the cocoon and states that the implication of “space touring” is meeting the cost and then enjoying the ride which he further claims is not the case. He feels cheat after such a lump sum pay of cash and intensive two year training at the Russian Space Agency, the tour was not neither as expected nor worth the cost. We are hereby forced to question the problems facing space adventure limited. However, space visits do not stop here there. Anoushe Ansari an Iranian engineer and entrepreneur who co-founded Prodea Systems became the first woman and fourth in history of mankind to leave for space on a tour. Ansari left for the ISS just after her 40th birthday on 18th September 2006 (Kortenkamp and Fox, 88). Her journey lasted twelve (12) days and on 29th September the same year, the crew landed back safely. Ansari has greatly been honored by various distinguished organizations, universities and corporations around the world. Tyurin, one of her crew mates though skeptical at first later described Ansari as very professional adding that he felt like he had worked with her for a decade or so. The world’s fifth space tourist is Charles Simonyi. Simonyi is a Hungarian citizen who having graduated in Electrical and Electronics Engineering went on to work with Microsoft in the 1980s. His innovative nature saw him start his own company called Intentional Software through which he aims at marketing his idea of intentional programming. Of all space tourists, Simonyi seems to enjoy these rides the most, having drawn into the Russian Space Adventure deal twice in 2007 and 2009 respectively.
Consequently, he seems more adventurous and excited in the deeds he performs while in space. For instance, He makes numerous radio calls expressing his feelings to individuals back in Earth. In one of his interviews, Simonyi says, “It is amazing how it appears from the blackness of the sky. It was very, very dramatic. It was like a big stage set, a fantastic production of some incredible opera or modern play. That’s what I was referring to when I said I was blown away” (Goeldner and Ritchie, 16). After Simonyi’s visit, Richard Garriot, a British American game developer follows suit. On 12th October 2008, Richard heads on a twelve (12) day tour to ISS. His journey is successful and the crew is back on 23rd October the same year. Most recently has been the tour of Guy Laliberte of Canada. The early life and academic background of Guy are not well known. Guy is a reputed poker player and a world re-known entrepreneur. His life is however surrounded by a selfless dedication to philanthropic acts.
In fact, his mission which He himself named “Poetic Social Mission” was aimed at world awareness and campaign for water problems faced on earth by not only mankind but all life in it. This is one of the most acknowledgeable positive influences in space touring which has in fact led Guy to various Awards and recognitions around the globe. This is the far Space Tourism has come at the moment. Up to date the only company manning these space visits is Space Adventure Limited of Russia. This makes it a sole player in service provision which limits the quality assurance capability of the company in terms of service delivery. This is hence the genesis of the problem.
2.1.4 Challenges in Present day Space Tourism
A careful consideration of the trends highlights on several challenges facing the space vehicles used in space touring today. The main challenge has been the cost of air travel. Due to the sole-man-ship in provision of the travels, Russians hike the costs of travel without chance for bargain as any willing space tourist has no choice but to rely on Russia pricing. This has scared away millions off willing but unable parties as the prices are way above the ceiling for majority.
Considering the time taken to train individual tourists for just a few day visit calls for action in modification of the vehicles used. There should be simple user friendly vehicles whose duration of training should not take more than a few days, a month at most. It is rather unreasonable to pay US$ 20 (twenty million US dollars) for a space visit and to be denied chance to make such a visit on the basis of one’s performance during the training (Conrady and Buck, 28).
Accessibility of the current vehicles is largely limited. Efforts to push towards signing the agreement between the prospective tourist and the respective company is more or less like signing a treaty between an individual and a country. According to records, it takes more than half a year to complete the document exchange process with regards to the expression of intention to tour space by the individual tourist and approval of the same by the relevant Russian authorities. However, with a more accessible commercial Space visit vehicle, the duration of time taken in paper work could be immensely reduced.
Lastly, relying on the current vehicles has an effect of limiting innovation and invention. If we are going to push human race to the next level, we ought to give equal chance to all for innovation and invention. Through innovation, better programs could be drawn in line with the missions of space tourists other than the selfish agenda of the Soviet to raise funds and get back on its feet. Inventions never stop; if explorative measures are channeled in line with space exploration, and then it goes without say that space tourism will never reach a peak!
2.1.5 Viability of Development
The first steps in space tourism have been all successful. Since the first space tour in 2001, market research has shown that there is a vast demand for Space trips, if only it were possible. Economically, when demand is huge, maximum profits are best attained by a reduction in price of good or service and subsequently an increase in sale of the product in question. This approach targets the proportion of market share, especially in markets faced with stiff competition. According to Gregory Stephens, an economist of the 21st century, the establishment and sustainability of any commercial activity is entirely depended on the market share held by the transacting party (Collins and Powell, 72). If the same principles are applied in this Space Tour Venture, it goes without doubt that the viability of this development is literary guaranteed.
Living in the 21st century has proved a time for humans willing to develop only. In the field of Space Tourism, the players are not yet near catching any sleep. There are challenges facing this industry and the objective of this paper is to champion for change towards the better of this industry. Chief in the subject of this paper is development of a new space vehicle for future space travels. Indeed, one of the ways to solve a problem is by ignoring it but the only way to solve this is by taking action and in this understanding, development of a space vehicle is not only necessary but unavoidable, not only a viable venture but an honorable accomplishment.
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