ISRO proposes Space Tourism

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    • ISRO plans to start ‘Space Tourism’ for passenger by 2030

    About

    • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is developing a space tourism module which will allow enthusiasts to take a trip to space.
    • The estimated cost of the trip is slated to be Rs 6 crore, and enthusiasts will be able to take a trip to space by 2030.
    • At present, it has not been announced whether the module will include sub-orbital space travel or orbital space travel.
    • Space tourism is a relatively new concept that involves traveling to space for recreational purposes while ensuring that it is both safe and reusable.

    Major highlights of the proposal:

    • Price: The per ticket price is estimated to be around Rs 6 crore and People who take the trip will also be able to call themselves astronauts.
    • Type of Space Travel: The module is likely to feature sub-orbital space travel which generally involves spending 15 minutes at the edge of space, experiencing a few minutes in a low-gravity environment before the spaceflight descends back to Earth.
    • Partnership with Private Firms: ISRO is likely to partner with private firms for the development of the space travel module via the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe).
    • Safety Measures: ISRO will also be using the Reusable Launch Vehicle—Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) to gain more knowledge about the safety of the spaceflights as space experiences are being brought to the common people.

    Major challenges of space tourism are:

    • Cost: Space tourism is currently very expensive, and only a small number of people can afford it which is a major obstacle for most people.
    • Safety: Space tourism involves a high degree of risk, and safety will be a major concern for both tourists besides operators and the Spacecraft and launch vehicles must be reliable, and emergency procedures must be in place in case of any contingencies.
    • Medical issues: Space tourism can pose significant medical challenges to tourists, such as changes in gravity, radiation exposure, and other physiological and psychological effects. 
    • Regulations: There is currently no international regulatory framework for space tourism, and governments will need to work together to establish standards and regulations to ensure the safety and sustainability of the industry.
    • Environmental impact: Space tourism can have a significant environmental impact, including increased emissions, waste, and damage to the atmosphere and the ozone layer. 

    Importance of space tourism:

    • Economic benefits: Space tourism can contribute to the growth of the space industry and generate revenue for space companies besides creating jobs, stimulate innovation, and attract investment in related industries such as hospitality and entertainment.
    • Promoting space exploration: It can increase public interest in space exploration and encourage more people to learn about the universe, astronomy, and space technology leading to more funding for space research and development.
    • Advances in technology: The development of space tourism requires the advancement of space technology and infrastructure, such as spacecraft, launch vehicles, and space habitats which can have positive spillover effects on other sectors, such as transportation, energy, and communication.
    • Environmental benefits: Space tourism can potentially help reduce the environmental impact of tourism on Earth by providing an alternative destination for travelers which could help reduce the strain on natural resources and ecosystems.

    Other countries with Space Toursim modules:

    • United States: It is a leader in space tourism, with several private companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic which has already completed several test flights, and plans to launch commercial flights in the near future.
    • Russia:It has been involved in space tourism since 2001, and has sent several paying tourists to the International Space Station (ISS) on its Soyuz spacecraft.
    • China: It is a relatively new player in the space tourism industry, but has ambitious plans to build its own space station and potentially offer space tourism in the future.
    • United Arab Emirates: The UAE recently sent its first astronaut to the ISS, and has expressed interest in developing space tourism as part of its efforts to diversify its economy.
    • Japan: It has sent several astronauts to the ISS, and is involved in the development of space tourism through private companies such as PD Aerospace.

    Mission Gaganyaan

    • Gaganyaan is India’s first human spaceflight mission, aimed at sending three astronauts into space by 2022.
    • The mission is being developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and aims to demonstrate India’s capabilities to send humans into space and return them safely.
    • The spacecraft will consist of an Orbital Module and a Crew Module, which will be launched by the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) rocket.
    • The spacecraft will orbit the Earth at an altitude of 400 km for a period of 5-7 days.
    • The crew will be trained in Russia’s Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Moscow.
    • The crew module will have an emergency escape system to ensure the safety of the astronauts in case of any failure during launch or ascent.
    • The mission will have significant scientific, technological, and socio-economic benefits for India, including the development of new technologies and capabilities, inspiration for future generations, and international collaboration.

    Conclusion

    • ISRO’s space tourism module, which is both safe and reusable is a significant step towards advancing India’s space exploration programs and providing the public with an opportunity to experience space travel.
    • As technology continues to advance, space tourism could become more accessible and affordable, in future and thus allowing more people to experience the wonder and excitement of space exploration.

     Source: TH