With the dawn of a civilian space flight man's opportunity to fly to the edge of space is quickly becoming a reality. How many people have shown an interest and actually taken positive actions forward?
Space studies conducted in 2002 by Futron and 2006 by Spaceport Associates indicate a definite interest in space tourism. Our focus is based on suborbital space flight as orbital space flight is currently only available on the Russian spaceship Soyev to the International Space Station and at a cost exceeding $30 Million.
The space studies show worldwide interest mostly from males (78%) and also indicate a wide age separation, from 22 to 67. Since 2005, Virgin Galactic the world leader, has stated over 370 individuals have already registered and over l00,000 have requested further information. This clearly indicates a market exists for private space travel.
There are a number of companies developing vehicles to offer private space flight opportunities in the near future. Over the next few years it is probable that many of these flights will begin and more people will want to register and participate.
Different strokes for different folks. Some vehicles will be dropped from another carrier, some will take off horizontally and land horizontally, some will take off vertically and land vertically and some will even be launched from a balloon.
Studies indicate the most desirable is to be a horizontal take off and landing, however, the preference of each individual with their confidence in each vehicle and company will be the initial determining factor of choice.
No matter which vehicle carrier you travel within, all participants will experience, some weightlessness, feel the G-forces and the thrust of rockets, view the Earth and see its curvature and go through some pre-flight space training. Some vehicles will take you solo while with others up to six or maybe more can travel together.
Why are many interested persons waiting to sign up? Because some expect costs will come down. Others want to feel more comfortable as they see many have flown safely without incident and can now proceed to register. And still others want to get feedback and select from the different programs offered that have proven themselves safe and exciting.
Currently, costs range from under $l00,000 to about a quarter of a million dollars for a suborbital high adventure space flight experience. For comparison, a list of all space companies, their progress and developments, vehicles, projects and costs, can be found on Wikipedia under 'SPACE TOURISM'.
World-wide registrations probably exceed 500 with over $40.M in deposits already paid. This without any doubt, indicates a strong interest in suborbital space flight.
It is still too early in the industry to be sure who will get there first, become most popular, offer the most discriminating experience, etc, etc, etc. It is for you to explore options and opportunities. Safety always comes first. April 12. 2011, the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's famous suborbital space flight. He was the first man in space. This time of global celebration brings man into the next 50 years of space and allowing the private sector to dominate space exploration, recreation and monetization. Space hotels will open within a few years and those interested in the further development of space and the excitement of what is offered will attract many more to become a part of what the future of space travel will be.
The next few years will pave the way for dare devil adventurers, space enthusiasts and thrill seekers to satisfy their quest and go where so few have gone before, to the edge of space. If YOU want to become a part of the early pioneers of space flight history, now is clearly the time to act.
Mitchell J Schultz is a Space Tourism Specialist operating a site at http://www.XtraordinaryAdventures.com as an authorized rep of RocketShipTours, exclusively representing XCOR's new Lynx spaceplane. View their exciting video, find more information about spaceflight and sign up today for your FREE newsletter 'Space Cruise News', providing regular updates about the space tourism industry, go now: http://www.XtraordinaryAdventures.com/newsletter..