The future of travel may mean opportunities for you to visit space. What’s next in space travel? Is there life out there? And will you be one of those to go and explore?
Space truly is the final frontier. Humans have explored almost every square inch of earth, but we’ve only just begun to explore beyond our planet’s atmosphere. The question is: Will space travel be available to everyday people?
The answer is likely, “yes.” Once upon a time, flying on an airplane was reserved for either adventurers or the very wealthy. That’s no longer the case, of course, as most people can afford to pay airfare if and when they need to travel long distances. Space travel is likely to follow the same timeline. Here’s more on our past exploration of space, plus when space travel may become accessible to the masses.
The History of Space Travel
In the years after World War II, both the United States and Soviet Union invested time, money and resources into the exploration of space. Russia’s Sputnik 1 became the first vessel to orbit Earth in 1957. Russia’s Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space when he flew aboard Vostok 1 in 1961. Of course, the Americans caught up to the Soviets with their Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions in the 1960s — culminating with Neil Armstrong stepping onto the lunar surface in July 1969.
The United States and other countries continued exploring space in the years that followed the first moon landing, including NASA’s Space Shuttle program that launched in 1981. In the 1990s, the U.S. and Russia even partnered on space exploration projects like the Shuttle-Mir program and the International Space Station.
Still, space travel remained an adventure reserved almost exclusively for trained astronauts.
Space Tourism in the 21st Century
In 2001, Dennis Tito, an American businessman, became the world’s first space tourist. He paid about $20 million for the right to spend a week on the International Space Station.
Virgin Galactic, a private company, is still planning to facilitate space tourism in the future. It unveiled in summer 2020 the cabin of SpaceShipTwo — the vessel it will use for commercial flights into space.
And Elon Musk’s SpaceX continues to pursue space exploration and making space tourism a reality in the future. SpaceX is planning to offer $35,000-per-night stays aboard the International Space Station, and it’s also designing a Starship vessel that can carry 100 passengers from Earth to space destinations as distant as Mars. In 2020, Musk shared a vision of operating 1,000 commercial Starships by 2050.
The Importance of Space
Few consumers can afford to spend $35,000 for one night on the International Space Station. But, for Musk’s vision of 1,000 Starships by 2050 to become a reality, the price per ticket will need to drop dramatically.
And that would be a good thing for humanity. Exploration of space is an important endeavor for various reasons:
- Innovation: The development of space technologies has led to new innovations that have non-space-related benefits. The development of artificial hearts, memory mattresses and even WD-40 spray all emerged from efforts NASA undertook to explore beyond our planet.
- Knowledge: Space exploration has allowed us to learn and to grow our knowledge base. For example, the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope has allowed us to see deeper into space than ever before.
- Overcrowding: With each passing year, the earth grows more and more crowded. Exploration of the moon and Mars offer the possibility of future colonies and more room for humanity to spread out.
- Perspective: We could all use a little perspective, right? Spending time in space can remind us all of how small our planet is, as well as how small daily challenges and frustrations truly are.
Space travel is not without risk right now. But, as space travel becomes more and more common, flights beyond our atmosphere will become more and more safe just as they become more and more accessible to a larger portion of the population.
JTB: For Wherever Your Business Travel May Take You!
While businesses aren’t traveling to space for meetings, conferences or sales pitches (yet), any company can count on JTB Business Travel to help them manage their trips. As a comprehensive corporate travel agency, we work with companies large and small — always using a common-sense approach to service.
Contact us today to learn more about what JTB Business Travel can do as your travel management company.