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Space Tourism - The Final Frontier

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For anyone who's ever dreamed of becoming an astronaut but hasn't been able to master their [kwlink]times tables[/kwlink], space tourism gives new hope for experiencing the great beyond.

Space Tourism - The Dream

Long before space travel became a reality, scientists and science fiction writers were dreaming of the possibilities of exploring the universe. Books like 2001: A Space Odyssey talked of missions to the moon and planets like Saturn. Kidzworld founder, Allen Achilles has secretly always wanted to be a space man, but some people think that he is a space cadet. But little did these dreamers know that their fantasies were not that far-fetched after all.

Space Tourism - The Struggles

Space tourism didn't start out with random citizens suiting up for a ride on a rocket. The first non-astronauts to go into space were two politicians who received the same training as NASA astronauts, but weren't employed by the space agency. After these successful trips, NASA developed the Teacher in Space program - including high school teacher Christa McAuliffe in the Challenger Shuttle mission. Christa trained for a year before Challenger launched on January 28, 1986. Just 73 seconds after the launch, Challenger completely disintegrated, killing all seven crew members including Christa McAuliffe.

Space Tourism - Present Day

The Challenger disaster caused a lengthy halt to American space exploration, but the Russians then stepped up to the plate, keeping the space tourist dream alive. In 1990, Japanese journalist, Toyohiro Akiyama, flew to the Mir space station. His company, the Tokyo Broadcasting System, paid $28 million to send Toyohiro into space. Since then, there have been four space tourists (Dennis Tito, Mark Shuttleworth, Gregory Olsen and Anouseheh Ansari) who have paid for the ultimate vacation on Russian Soyuz rockets. A fifth space tourist, Charles Simonyi, is scheduled to hitch a ride on a flight in April 2007.

Space Tourism - Did U Know?

  • A ticket to space currently costs approximately $20 million US.
  • Current space tourists must undergo months of training before taking their trip into space.
  • Billionaire Richard Branson hopes to launch the first ever private space shuttle fleet in 2008 called Virgin Galactic. The first 100 people to fly on Virgin Galactic will pay $200,000 per ticket, with the price dropping for customers after that.
  • Former *NSYNC member, Lance Bass, was rumored to become a space tourist, but was unable to secure financing for the trip.
  • Several companies have begun work on "space hotels" that they hope to build on the moon!
  • In 2000, Survivor producer Mark Burnett and NBC have struck a deal with the Russian Space Agency to film a show called Destination Mir. The show would feature 12 hopeful contestants competing for a seat on the next shuttle to the Mir space station. Unfortunately, the Russians had to bring Mir out of space before the show could be filmed.
  • A Japanese fashion designer, Eri Matsui, has designed clothing (including a wedding dress) specifically for zero-gravity environments like the moon.
  • Related Stories:

  • The Highs and Lows of the Space Program
  • Becoming an Astronaut
  • Blast Off to Summer Space Camp
  • More Out of This World Information!
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