SpaceX Tourism

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SpaceX Rocket in space.

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, better known as SpaceX, is a large aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company based in California. The company designs, manufactures and launches rockets and spacecrafts with funding from NASA and other international organizations. One spacecraft that the company has made is called the Dragon. It was designed to carry both people and cargo to orbiting destinations. In 2012, it became the first commercial spacecraft in history to deliver cargo to the ISS and return safely home to Earth. However, in early 2018, Dragon will be serving a different purpose; it will be privately crewed on a week-long journey around the moon by two private citizens.

Recently, CEO Elon Musk proudly announced that SpaceX was approached by two citizens that have asked not been named. The two unidentified citizens were interested in taking a space trip out to the moon and back. The two have already placed down quite a hefty deposit, an amount that is well into the millions. In addition to the deposit, the unidentified citizens will also have to go through rigorous health and fitness training, as well as a multitude of health tests before they are cleared to go. They will also have to complete training of how the spacecraft itself works and the various different procedures they will face during the ascent and descent. The expedition will start off at Kennedy Space Center, on Pad 39A, where the Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the privately crewed Dragon to the moon. Once the spacecraft approaches the moon in approximately 3 days, the Dragon will begin to cruise into lunar orbit. They will then venture fairly close to the moon’s surface, around 60 miles above the moon before they continue out to deeper space. A large loop will be made around the moon before they will make their way back to Earth. Next comes the most challenging part aside from launch: re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. Both the angle and the speed of the spacecraft must be perfect in order for the two passengers to safely make it back down to Earth without being burnt to a crisp. Lastly, the spacecraft will either touchdown on land using parachutes and retro repulsion or splashdown into a body of water.

Today, space exploration has exponentially improved, allowing us to do so much more than we could have in the past. Our advanced rockets and spacecrafts have allowed us to travel more safely and faster into space. SpaceX has showcased this with their expedition that will take place in 2018. 7th grader Kaleb P. said, “It’s amazing to see all the improvements that we have made to make space travel possible.” SpaceX tourism is a great example of these improvements to space travel.