Gap years in space

20th Sep 2011
Written by: Macca Sherifi

Gap years in space

Space, the final frontier. Or is it?

There’s something particularly attractive about space travel. Maybe it’s all the fantasy and sci-fi movies. Maybe it’s the thought of alien life-forms. Or maybe it’s just the desire to explore the unknown.

Whatever the reason, man has been pushing the boundaries of space travel ever since the lunar landing in 1969. But the question is, what’s next for space travel? The answer is simple – commercial space travel.

Commercial space travel is now no longer a piece of science fiction but a reality that’s just around the corner.

The privatisation of space flights means that instead of travelling to Australia or Thailand on your gap year you could be travelling to space.

There are a few companies looking to venture into space for the paying public, with Boeing and Virgin Galactic heading the field.

Boeing recently announced that it hopes to have commercial spaces flights by as early as 2015, though passengers will have to undergo extensive training for the privilege. The trip will take you around Earth’s orbit and it’s thought to be ‘competitively priced’. What this means no one knows.

As a comparison, the last man who took a commercial flight into space was Guy Laliberte, the French-Canadian founder of Cirque du Soleil, who paid approximately $35 million for the luxury, so maybe it’s a little too expensive for gappers.

However, Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson’s company, will be much more affordable. Passengers looking to book a commercial space flight will pay approximately $200,000, giving you a three-and-a-half hour flight, including six minutes of weightlessness.

As proof of how popular space travel will become, a few companies have already got in on the act.

Premier Inn, the budget hotel company, has bought a plot on the moon and is looking to create the first ever ‘lunar hotel’. Premier Inn claims 'it will welcome visitors fresh off the shuttle from Earth within 25 years.’

Giovanna Gentile, spokesperson for HostelBookers, said on the topic of gap years in space: “HostelBookers is always looking for the next popular backpacking destination. Part of the thrill of travelling is being able to brag to others about where you’ve been. We’re sure if a hostel opened on the moon it would be a great success with our customers. HostelBookers is committed to reducing the cost of travelling and if that includes space travel then we’ll be there with fun hostels, low prices and oxygen masks!” 

Another company looking to get into space is Domino’s Pizza who have plans to open the first fast food restaurant on the moon. It's quite a funny news story, especially when considering the costs involved. To read the original story then go to The Telegraph.

The point is that commercial space travel really is a reality. Man is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and it seems that commercial space travel is just one of those boundaries, and as more and more companies venture into space, the cost will become cheaper and cheaper, becoming available for all.

If space travel did became affordable, would you travel into space? What do you think about commercial space flights? A step too far? Post your comments below…

Oh, and if you want to see what travelling around the Earth’s orbit could look like, then check out this video.

To boldly go where no gapper has gone before…

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