Editor’s Note: Leroy Chiao, Ph.D., serves as a consultant and co-founder and CEO OneOrbit LLC, motivational training, education and talent management company. In the year He was a NASA astronaut from 1990-2005 and flew four missions into space aboard three spacecraft and once served as the commander of the International Space Station as the assistant aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. He has served on SpaceX’s Safety Advisory Panel, as well as NASA’s Advisory Council and the White House Committee on Human Space Flight Plans. The views expressed here are his own. Read More comments by CNN.
When the world is struggling with The implosion of the Titans Submarine, commercial space companies are planning to offer short hop adventures beyond the sky. And they are doing this despite the parallels between them. Space tourism and venture They travel the depths of the oceans.
British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, for one; It launched its first commercial flight on Thursday.The official was the first to fly passengers and crew to a level above 50 nautical miles. Space limit As developed by NASA. The wheel was funded by Italian scientists and engineers. Italian Air Force. another company, Blue originThe one founded by Jeff Bezos has already taken flight Customers who pay more to the suborbital space.
Comparing underwater and space adventure travel can be tempting. Both travelers carry specially designed vehicles to hostile physical environments, otherwise living creatures cannot exist.
And both cater to the curiosity of affluent tourists, allowing them to travel to places that most people cannot afford to visit on their own. A trip aboard the Titan is said to be worth it. 250,000 dollars. Virgin Galactic sold it 800 ticketsIncluding 600 worth up to $250,000 and another couple hundred at $450,000 per ticket.
There are important differences between traveling to the depths of the ocean and to the edge of space. Trips on the water supply lasted several hours, while the space trips were over in minutes. Visitors to deep space experience microgravity and beautiful views of Earth from space.
For the sake of clarity, I need to distinguish between the commercial subspacecraft built and operated by Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, and the orbital spacecraft designed and built with NASA involvement, SpaceX’s Dragon and the upcoming. Boeing Starliner.
Many spaceflight participants or non-professional flyers have safely and successfully flown orbital missions aboard the Russian Soyuz and Dragon spacecraft over the years. Both types of spaceflight involve the adventurous rich, but they bear no resemblance to Titan’s excursions.
As we saw with Titan, perhaps the most difficult mission—in space and in the depths of the ocean—is crew rescue. It was a rescue effort for the Titan submarine. Wide and expensiveIt includes assets and employees from many countries and business companies.
Using the International Space Station (ISS) as a shelter for NASA and Russian missions is part of the contingency plan. It is not clear how rescue should be managed for commercial flights. But there are the same uncomfortable questions raised in the discussion about rescuing submarines from the ocean floor: What is the plan if the spacecraft loses its ability to come home on its own? Who pays for space rescue if something goes wrong? Should taxpayers be expected to cover all or most of the cost?
Current suborbital supplies are separate from commercial orbital spacecraft. They use vehicles designed and built by commercial companies. In the US and all US companies, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the regulatory body that issues takeoff and landing permits and evaluates the environmental and public safety of vehicles.
The FAA does not certify these vehicles as airplanes. His role is very different from the commercial airline world. Confirming the operation of these vessels remains the work of the companies for now.
People often ask me if I can fly in these vehicles. I might have the answer – if I had the money and didn’t have my NASA space flight experiences. I’ve flown into space on four missions, but I’ve never been lucky enough to be part of a lunar mission. So yes, if it involves traveling to the moon, I’ll consider it.
But before I boarded a commercial space flight, I did a lot of homework first. And I do the same thing before I board any vessel that goes deep into the ocean.
For any traveler planning to board commercial vehicles into space or ocean, informed consent is essential. Passengers should take the time and effort to inform themselves of potential hazards and decide whether or not to participate.
Passengers on Titan had to sign informed consent documents, just like laypersons choosing to go on a spaceflight adventure. Due diligence involves asking a lot of questions and looking into the company, history, and as much as possible of the vehicle’s technical aspects and operations.
Many issues have been raised. Titan, the company and the founder, after an accident. I hope these questions were asked by the participants before going inside.
But the bottom line is this: life is about balancing risks and rewards, and in most cases society leaves it up to mature individuals to decide for themselves.
There’s always plenty of Monday morning quarterbacking after any tragedy. But this should not limit our freedom or diminish our desire to explore the farthest reaches of Earth and beyond.
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