Space tourism is about to take off. Here’s how companies like Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, and SpaceX make sure visitors’ bodies can survive the trip.

  • Businesses prepare to take tourists to the edge of space out from 2022.
  • The bidding for a seat aboard a Blue Origin spacecraft has reached a whopping $ 2.8 million.
  • As the journeys lengthen, the training programs will allow humans to manage the journey.

Companies like Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are gearing up to send tourists to the edge of space – and possibly beyond – as early as 2022. But for ordinary citizens, weightlessness and long flights could wreak havoc on their bodies.

Going into space is a naturally difficult experience, especially for the human body. That’s why companies that hope to sell travel are taking a page from NASA’s playbook and undertaking a rigorous training program for would-be travelers to alleviate things like muscle atrophy and bone loss which they claim. studies, can occur when traveling outside of the atmosphere.

Galactic Virgo and Blue Origin are preparing to take tourists to the outer reaches of space. Virgin’s 90-minute tour will provide customers with “several minutes of weightlessness,” and a flight aboard Blue Origin’s will give you an 11-minute tour, none of which is close enough to when muscle atrophy or death occurs. other effects set in.

Still, both companies require customers to take training before shipping.

“There are a few days of pre-flight training,” a Blue Origin spokesperson told Insider. “Part of the training includes learning procedures for entering and exiting the capsule, mission simulation, and learning techniques for moving in zero-g.”

The National Aerospace Research and Training Center has “already trained nearly 400 future Virgin Galactic passengers for their travels,” Glenn King, director of spaceflight training, told AFP. The training lasts two days and includes a morning of classroom instruction and the use of a centrifuge to simulate gravitational forces, the press service reported.

Sirisha Bandla, vice president of government affairs for Virgin Galactic, told Insider in an interview that customers will be arriving a few days before their flight for training.

“It’s all about the security system, how to buckle up and get out of your seat,” she said. “And to mentally prepare the trip for what’s going to happen so that when they’re in microgravity time, they take that moment to look out the windows and enjoy space flight.”

Virgin plans to send Kellie Gerardi, a researcher from the International Institute of Astronautical Sciences (IISA), on a dedicated research flight (the date of which remains to be determined), the firm said Thursday. She will conduct experiments and test health technologies – like zero gravity syringes and biomonitoring instruments – while in space.

“I think it’s an ever-changing landscape and landscape of opportunity, especially for researchers and civilians,” Gerardi told Insider. “I’m looking at my three year old daughter, who’s super horny today, and she just thinks moms go to space, like that’s exactly what they do. And it’s like wow, it’s alright being so awesome to her when she’s in her thirties like me, she grows up knowing it. ”

Long journeys will be more complicated.

Elon Musks’ SpaceX is expected to take four civilians aboard his Dragon Crew spacecraft later this year for a trip to space. The Inspiration4 mission will be the “very first crew of people who are not professional astronauts to orbit the Earth for three days”.

This gravity-free weather could have disastrous effects on the body, as astronauts have learned and trained in the past half-century of space flight. According to NASA, astronauts need to exercise for two hours a day to prepare their bodies for space travel, time spent there, and the trip back to Earth.

“They spend about 10 hours underwater for every hour they spend walking in space,” says NASA. these activities may include swimming, running, weight training or floor exercises. ”

Artificial gravity can help. Blue Origin has visionary plans to put up to 1 trillion people in space in colonies, as Jeff Bezos pointed out in 2019. The colonies would exist in rotating cylinders meant to mimic gravity, orbiting around. Earth and maintain human life.

His plan is supported by a new study published in the journal Nature in April, which found that the effects of weightlessness on muscles could be mitigated by artificial gravity. Scientists measured these effects by sending two groups of mice orbiting the International Space Station for 35 days to study the effects of Earth’s gravity versus microgravity.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, their findings indicated that artificial gravity can “help stop the breakdown of muscle mass and the alteration of atrophy-related gene expressions that occur in space.”

All this training and research means travel won’t be cheap

Blue Origin tickets currently cost up to $ 2.8 million for a seat on its New Shepard spacecraft, and the price could rise even more when a live auction takes place on June 12.

Virgin Galactic, meanwhile, completed its third test flight at the edge of space on May 22, as the company prepares to take tourists to space as early as 2022. “Some 600 customers have already paid 200 $ 000 to $ 250,000 for a seat, “Insider reported. .

SpaceX did not say how much its first passenger – Yusaku Maezawa – paid to participate in the company’s first lunar mission.

“He’s paying a lot of money that would help with the ship and its thruster,” Musk said in 2018. “He’s ultimately paying for the average citizen to go to other planets.”

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