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Space Turism. If You've Ever Dreamed Of Going To Space And Doing What Only A Few Hundred People Have Done, Then Read On.

1350 words - 5 pages

Make your reservations now. The space tourism industry is officially open for business, and tickets are going for a mere $20 million for a one-week stay in space. Despite reluctance from NASA, Russia made American businessman Dennis Tito the world's first space tourist. Tito flew into space aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket that arrived at the International Space Station on April 30, 2001. The second space tourist, South African businessman Mark Shuttleworth, took off aboard the Russian Soyuz on April 25, 2002, also bound for the ISS. Lance Bass of 'N Sync was supposed to be the third to make the $20 million trip, but as of Sept. 3, 2002, Russia has called off his extraterrestrial vacation due to delays in payment. Probably the most incredible aspect of this proposed space tour is that NASA was in favor of it. These trips are the beginning of what could be a lucrative 21st century industry. There are already several space tourism companies planning to build suborbital vehicles, orbital hotels and lunar cruise ships within the next two decades. These companies have invested millions, believing that the space tourism industry is on the verge of taking off. In 1997, NASA published a report concluding that selling trips to space to private citizens could be worth billions of dollars. A Japanese report supports these findings, and projects that space tourism could be a $10 billion per year industry within the two decades. The only obstacles to opening up space to tourists are the space agencies, who are concerned with safety and the development of a reliable, reusable launch vehicle. If you've ever dreamed of going to space and doing what only a few hundred people have done, then read on. In this article you'll learn about the spacecraft being designed as destinations for space tourists, and how you may one day have a chance to cruise through the solar system.Russia's Mir space station was supposed to be the first destination for space tourists. But in March 2001, the Russian Aerospace Agency brought Mir down into the Pacific Ocean. As it turned out, bringing down Mir only temporarily delayed the first tourist trip into space. The Mir crash did cancel plans for a new reality-based game show from NBC, which was going to be called Destination Mir. The Survivor-like TV show was scheduled to air in fall 2001. Participants on the show were to go through training at Russia's cosmonaut training center, Star City. Each week, one of the participants would be eliminated from the show, with the winner receiving a trip to the Mir space station. Mir's demise rules out NBC's space plans for now. NASA is against beginning space tourism until the International Space Station is completed in 2006.Russia is not alone in its interest in space tourism. There are several projects underway to commercialize space travel. Here are a few of the groups that might take you to space:Bigelow Aerospace, formed by Budget Suites of America hotels owner Robert Bigelow, has committed at...

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