Elon Musk is no stranger to out of this world challenges. The Co-Founder of Paypal, Founder of Tesla and brains behind Hyperloop is on his ultimate mission of transporting people to other planets, to live. Introducing space travel company Space X. Isn’t it every boys dream to go to space? Let see how Space X will aim to do this and how they have started a global trend in space travel.
Space X was started in 2002 by Elon Musk who is CEO and Chief Designer of their current products, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon. The company, which is privately owned, has pioneered a few key milestone trips into space to deliver cargo and supplies to the International Space Station and returned safely to earth. The Dragon spacecraft was the first independently owned spacecraft to accomplish this mission and since then Space X has been commissioned by NASA on contracts worth billions of dollars. The companies core goal is to develop and make reusable rockets, which will advance multiple flights into space in a short amount of time due to the expense and time constrains associated with this technology.
Recent attempts to deploy and land Falcon 9 safely have been met with failures and successes. Space X is confident they can achieve a zero tolerance failure of landing a rocket back on earth without disintegration.
Falcon 9, launch and landing trajectory. Image source: Space X.
Falcon 9 rocket launching a test flight. Image source: venturebeat.com
Space X has garnered so much attention globally and have recently secured significant investment from Google and Fidelity. This investment has catapulted the companies value to (US) $10 Billion plus. Investment like this and recent successes of Space X will create a future space travel economy, attracting venture capitalists to power a mega market. But the company bases it’s value on solving the complexities associated with space travel. Financing is an important side step. Watch the SpaceX film here.
SPACE TRAVEL FOR HUMANS
Space X’s, first mission is to figure out how people can ultimately travel safely to other planets and back to earth. It’s called commercial space travel. If you think being an astronaut is intensive, Space X will have to figure out the back end solutions, infrastructure, effortless decompression of making it easy to ferry people from earth to our closest habitable planets such as the Moon and Mars. The sheer speed of coming back to earth and landing safely is around 4.87 Mach (approx 6000 KPH) according to quaora.com.
So say we achieve commercial space travel, the real question is how will Space X develop systems to support habitation on these planets? It’s still early days to consider visiting Mars but you can bet this is just the beginning of space travel. Watch Elon’s view on Mars here.
Seemingly a difficult feat at this stage but rest assured, Space X is dealing with all the challenges associated with enabling people on Mars. With support from the FAA and NASA, we know it’s only a matter of time before this is accomplished. Let’s fast track a decade from today and discuss the macro impacts and opportunities of space travel for humans.
Mars infrastructure showing a master plan of a city largely underground. Image source: pics-about-space.com
Life on Mars imagined by education2.marssociety.org
IMPACTS OF SPACE TRAVEL
It’s probably looking more likely that the first lot of human travel into space will be in the next 10 years for atmospheric experiences. This means that people will be able to experience what recent space travel movies have been showcasing. However, the true cost of this experience is yet to be defined. Most likely, it will mean only the super elite will be able to experience such heights of luxury travel. The impact to the luxury travel industry is yet to be determined. An industry with the value of (US) $435 Billion according to amadeus.com, is sure to be effected with the super rich opting to travel, dine and even have sex in space. The sheer idea of being able to experience new frontiers is disruptive enough.
Bodily impact is probably the worst impact of all. The team at Nasa captures what space travel does to the human body here. Excess mental impacts such as confinement, separation from humans and earth will play a vital role in human survival. Mars is 140 millions miles away from earth so a sensation of separation is sure to test us. Once you’ve mastered the mental aspect of space travel, then there is the physical ramifications… According to NASA, bone deterioration, sensory motor disablement, muscular fatigue and cardiovascular issues are some of the normal complications of astronauts in space. Then there is the chance that you will be exposed to radiation causing drastic long term effects… We are beginning to wonder if space travel is really worth it.
OPPORTUNITIES OF SPACE TRAVEL
Travel is the only thing in life you buy that makes you richer. Whilst the impacts of space travel can be quiet testing, challenges such as these open opportunities for an entirely new eco-system of living ideas, designs, space fashion and mega space habitat solutions. This will revolutionise every industry imaginable to the human race and create mega economies such as Spaceports, Spacefood, Spacehealth, even Spacemoney. The possibilities are endless.
Architecture and Vision product designs for space travel. Image source: blog.cleveland.com.
Foster + Partners schematic design for a Space Port American Terminal. Image source: aiaa.org.
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