With the trip of Blue Origin scheduled to follow in just a few days or Virgin Galactic flight. We are watching history in the making. Together, these two companies are ushering humankind into a new era of space tourism.
Earlier, a small group of Americans who were inspired to go to space had to undergo an isolation test. In this test, John Glenn, who was the first U.S. astronaut to orbit Earth, completed three orbits in 1962. For the test, John Glenn sat at a desk in a dark, soundproofed room.
Wally Funk floated inside a tank of water in a dark, soundproofed room in this test. However, Funk was rejected by NASA when it stopped the “Women in Space” programme.
Funk was reportedly doing better than some of the men in a series of rigorous physical and mental testing conducted for the same, yet NASA rescinded its support for the program for women.
The Oklahoma State University and its Flying Aggies team alumna, Ms Wally Funk had a lifelong dream for spaceflight and Sixty years later, she will be the oldest person to fly to space, as Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ “honored guest.”
“I can’t tell people watching how fabulous I feel to have been picked by Blue Origin to go on this trip” Ms Funk says. She also added that she expects to “love every second” of the journey.
What will Jeff Bezos’ space trip be like?
New Shepard will be launched from a western desert in Texas, US and the trip will last around 11 minutes. Out of 11 minutes, the passengers will spend a few minutes above the Karman Line; the internationally recognised boundary between earth’s boundary and Space.
The passengers will be able to float weightlessly and watch the curvature of Earth for a few minutes before returning back to Earth.
The capsule to be launched will be backed by three large parachutes and retrorockets for braking assistance while landing back on Earth from Space. The Space Flight earlier carried out several test runs (uncrewed) from its facility in Texas’ Guadalupe Mountain.
New Shepard is an automated capsule with no pilots and six seats. New Shepard is named after Alan Shepard; the American to go to Space 60 years ago. New Shepard is especially manufactured by Blue Origin for space tourism. The rocket is designed to take astronauts to the suborbital space inside of a crew capsule. The capsule features six large observation windows i.e. one window per seat.