What to Expect When You Travel in Space
Who Wants to Travel in Space?
I seem to know a lot of people who, if they had the money, would be eagerly lining up to "book your place in space" with Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic through their "Accredited Space Agents". Doesn't that have a great ring to it - not your average travel agent but a space agent. Certainly there appears to be no lack of people willing to try space travel - even at a cool $200,000. Alternatively you could consider Space Adventures' circuit of the moon, orbital or suborbital flights or simply one with zero gravity. Prices start @ $5K for a zero gravity flight and go up to "contact us for details" - dare I suggest an "astronomical" amount. Space travel certainly sounds like an amazing and once-in-a-lifetime experience. So what would really it be like? Here's an idea of what to expect when you sign up for a trip to the final frontier.
Before You Go
Having found the $ and made your booking, then there are medicals, training sessions and oh yes, you will need to sign a waiver. Space travel is probably sky high on the insurance companies' list of "risky" activities. There are a few hazards involved after all in leaving mother earth however the insurance companies apparently have it covered, from cancellation fees to the risk of being "lost in space" they have the policies - for a price of course.
If You're Feeling Nervous Already You Could Always Explore the Universe from Your Couch with Google
You'll be Travelling Really, Really Fast
According to NASA "The space shuttle must reach speeds of about 17,500 mph (28,000 kilometers per hour) to remain in orbit. The exact speed depends on the space shuttle's orbital altitude, which normally ranges from 190 miles to 330 miles (304 kilometers to 528 kilometers) above sea level, depending on its mission." So, probably faster than your average means of holiday transport.
You'll be Travelling Really, Really Far
In fact you'll be travelling so far that you should look forward to the institution of frequent flyer points for space travel.
There are some hazards involved with space flight. There is a lot of pressure on the human body during takeoff and it's shaky and noisy before becoming incredibly quiet. Radiation is an issue and there are also some problems with muscles and bone density although these are more associated with longer term stays in space.
Eating and drinking can be a challenge in a gravity-free environment. Don't expect a gourmet meal to be enjoyed whilst admiring the earth and planets, it will most likely be highly processed food and drinking through a straw.
At some time during your space travel you will need to go to the bathroom. Have a look at the NASA Multimedia Section and type "toilet" in the search bar for a very detailed (and polite) video on how this requirement is managed in space.
Will There be Aliens?
These are not mentioned in the advertising but you can always hope for a glimpse. Then again maybe not as those who claim to have seen aliens are sometimes regarded with suspicion...
You Can Read Always Read About Aliens Instead
What Will You See?
So, Is This a Value for Money Activity?
If you're even considering spending the amount of money required, then you obviously do think it's totally worthwhile. It's literally an "out there" thing to do and if you read the stories and and watch the videos of the astronauts who have been in space, it's an awe-inspiring and unparalleled experience. Even if you just enjoy looking at the sky, day and night, and imagining the vastness of our universe and beyond, space travel is probably on your wish list. Besides, not everyone gets to travel in space, therefore you'll have a unique and incredible story to tell when you get back.