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Research: Commercial Space Flight

Space tourism anyone?

For some time I have been exploring future developments predicted by scientists and science fiction writers. For each science fiction blog post I have taken one thing and researched whether there is any sign of it today. The most obvious aspect of science fiction is space travel. It’s a given. But until recently space travel was in its infancy. NASA has given up on the moon and paying attention to Mars.

Virgin Galactic spaceshipWith the advent of commercial space flight companies this is all changing. Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson went into space for the first time this week, and Blue Origin, the company owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, is taking Bezos into space next week. SpaceX are landing rockets after missions, rather than discarding them as NASA did.

If you search Wikipedia for ‘private spaceflight’ you will find an article which lists 18 active companies and 14 vehicles. And Wikipedia think the article is out of date. Space tourism is already on the cards, with Virgin Galactic charging $250,000 a seat and having sold over 600 tickets already.

Blue Origin First Human Flight into spaceThe biggest thing going on with space at the moment is delivering satellites into orbit. That’s commercial space flight at the moment. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket filmed successfully landing on 30 June, delivered 88 satellites, all successfully deployed. I read somewhere that Earth orbit is now so crowded that there is serious chance of a collision.

What do you think? Will flights into space become commonplace in our lifetimes? When they are, where will they go?

Head shot Ann Marie ThomasAnn Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Intruders, Alien Secrets, and Crisis of Conscience are out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz

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