Space travel: cool & fun
As if I am not living in this world. But, it seems that the prospects of space tourism for the masses are being laid out these days. I might be a little late to realise it but, humans think that a couple of orbits around the blue planet which we call home is worth the money and risks.
Mad and exuberantly rich [Richard Branson|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Branson], is actually one of the most enthusiastic and he has competition already. But, he didn't get any tourists in space yet, not even in zero gravity.
[Space Adventures|http://www.spaceadventures.com/], named after the ride in Disney? Seems to be the only company at the moment that sells tickets to space. Only for the humble sum of 25 million USD. Er, that means about 142 million Egyptian la7loo7. 142 Arnab! to go to the ISS avec the [Soyuz|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soyuz_programme].
And the kids who dreamt of flying to space at home with posters of Jupiter, Mars and spent their childhood reading Asimov are the ones most enthusiastic to sign up. [Linux|http://ubuntu.org/] entrepreneur [Mark Shuttleworth|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Shuttleworth] in 2002 and Microsoft's [Charles Simonyi will blast of today|http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6529149.stm]. As if the OS wars are taken to new heights ? Anyone from Apple wants to sign up ?
Spaceports, which is a word that warants no further explanation the word is self explanatory, are springing up all over the world. about 6 in the USA and a spaceport in Mexico, Singapore and UAE.
As for Egypt, we have DoqDoq's Faluka-port ready for hosting a couple of spaceships. And they will be of the [Solar-sail|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_sail] powered type not the propulsion type, ejected from the gravitational forces via a [space elevator|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_elevator]. One is already being built in the middle of the Nile that doubles as a fountain. Solar-sailing will be a smoother and more romantic ride across the solar system.
Space Adventures reasonably priced trip packages are:
* 100 million USD trip around the moon and back.
* 40 million USD trip to the ISS with spacewalking
* 25 million USD trip to the ISS without spacewalking
* 102,000 USD for a sub-orbital trip
[Virgin Galactic|http://www.virgingalactic.com/] price plans:
* 200,000 USD for a sub-orbital trip in [SpaceShipTwo|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Ship_Two] starting 2009
Finally there is still a more reasonably priced option to experience a small part of space travel. Zero Gravity parabolic flights. These actually costs a fraction of the above and are far more affordable for many people. The [ZeroG|http://www.gozerog.com/] flights cost 3,500 USD for a 15 parabolas each lasting 25 to 30 seconds of weightlessness.
Ofcourse, DoqDoq's 50 EGP per hour solar-sail spaceships are far more economical and a beautiful experience.
Photo from [NASA|http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_380.html]