Aircraft developed for the space tourism mark an exciting new era in space exploration. These revolutionary machines offer wealthy travelers the possibility of realizing their ultimate dream: to live an extraordinary experience by rising toat the edge of the atmosphere.
Several planes have been developed for space tourism by ambitious private companies owned by billionaires: SpaceShipTwo (VSS Unity) from the company Virgin Galactic founded by Richard Branson, New Shepard from the company Blue Origin founded by Jeff Bezos and SpaceX from the boss of Twitter. (renamed X and Tesla, Elon Musk.
Unlike traditional rockets, these planes are designed to take off and land from conventional airport runways. They are also reusable, helping to reduce the costs and environmental footprint associated with space travel. They embark a limited number of passengers for suborbital flights. The experience usually begins with a flight phase in the Earth’s atmosphere, where passengers can admire the curvature of the Earth and enjoy a breathtaking view of our blue planet.
Then, at a planned altitude, the passengers experience an extraordinary moment: weightlessness. Floating freely in the cabin, they experience the unique sensation of being in orbit without leaving Earth’s atmosphere. It is a moment of grace and contemplation that leaves unforgettable memories. Finally, the plane gently descends back to the Earth’s surface, allowing passengers to enjoy a spectacular atmospheric re-entry before landing safely.
The development of these spaceplanes was not without its challenges. The designers had to overcome complex technological challenges to guarantee the safety and reliability of these extraordinary journeys. The thermal protection of the aircraft to withstand the high atmospheric re-entry temperatures and the design of the powerful engines to achieve the required speed are among the obstacles overcome.
However, space tourism also raises ethical debates regarding its high cost and impact on the environment. Some criticize the fact that this form of space travel remains reserved for a wealthy elite and that the resources could be better used for scientific missions or projects of general interest.
Despite this, planes for space tourism are paving the way for a new era where space is no longer reserved for professional astronauts. They allow lovers of adventure and discovery to taste, if only briefly, the mysteries and beauty of space.