Jessica Mondillo’s Blog

Virgin Galactic:Tourist Space Trips

24 January 2008

To the billionaire who took a gamble on commercial space tourism it looks like it will pay off, considering he already has a list of over 200 passengers who want to go on the 2 1/2 hour space trip.

Of course the price isn’t cheap.  It will be approximately $200,000 a person to go.  The model for SpaceShipTwo was unveiled recently, moving the plan one step closer to go.

Now I’m not an astronaut, something most people in this world can say, but I thought astronauts went through intensive physical training to be order to handle the change of forces of leaving this atmosphere and the changes in pressure.  After all astronauts who are not in perfect shape cannot go to space.  Now the average person is not nearly as physically fit as an astronaut but we are going to shoot them into space?

I see a major health risk.  Unless this trip will be so gradual that they barely notice altitude change (something that thus far is impossible even in a plane) I am worried a lot of people will die or suffer major health complications because of the trip.  Of course 58 year old real estate executive Ken Baxter, has already completed extensive pre-flight training, which means maybe the company has thought about the high risk level.

Also, it seems scheduling the trip must be somewhat difficult since most pre-existing spaceships cannot take off or land while there is any type of bad weather, be it a bad storm, clouds or wind.  I don’t know how this will work with tourism but if the new ship follows old spaceship standards, this could be a problem, especially if there is an emergency on board.

It’s unbelievable and exciting that humans, even those with minimal training.  As exciting as I think it would be to go on it if I had the money, I don’t think I would due to all the risks.  Maybe once they are either addressed or tested a few times I would be okay with  it.


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