Last week, Space X made history by successfully completing their first manned flight into space. Astronauts Bob Benkhen and Doug Hurley returned home after a two-month stay at the International Space Station. The duo returned home as heroes, being the first pair to be both launched into space and safely returned back to earth by a private company. The success of this mission could be just the beginning of privatized launches into space and eventually open the doors for consumer space travel in the future.
The concept of privatized flights into space is not a new concept by any means. In fact, Space X has already declared intentions to send four private citizens into space sometime in 2021 or 2022. Elon Musk has gone so far as to say that "space tourism" could indeed end up being a full-fledged business venture in the near future.
In addition to Elon Musk and Space X, there are at least two other privately-owned companies that have declared their intentions to send paying private citizens into space. One of which is Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos and his 'Blue Origin' imprint. Bezos is unabashedly more optimistic about his brand, aiming to bring regularly hosted orbital flights and eventually moon landings. Both of those sound excellent in theory, but I'd also have to imagine that a trip to space would be ridiculously expensive.
Be that as it may, the prospect of consumer travel into space is both an intriguing and slightly terrifying one. Obviously safety and training being the two biggest concerns for any manned flight into space, but we should also be concerned with cost and the ethics of any company offering these types of services. Can these companies be trusted to ensure they take care of the lives they are sending off into space, or will they simply be used as marketing ploys to get more people to sign up?
However we choose to look at it, the reality of the matter is simple - Consumer and private flights into space will be a possibility very soon. The premise of space exploration is changing rapidly, and our dreams of one-day experiencing life outside of Earth could soon be a reality.