Commercial space travel blasts off


Evan Fernandez

The idea of ordinary citizens going to space will attract the younger generations to space exploration, potentially blasting off the industry. It has grown exponentially in the past 20 years after the Space Shuttle program ended. Private companies, such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX, took over the industry, developing their own technology and rockets. Commercial space travel will entice and help the idea of space for younger generations.

Evan Fernandez, Reporter

NASA and space fanatics continue to exhibit hopes of commercial space travel. In recent years, private space companies, such as SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, have made the dream of commercial space travel possible. All three of the examples listed have spent millions on developing rockets and new technology to send people that do not qualify as astronauts to space. 

“I believe it’s good that so many rich people have invested in the space exploration industry because it will expand the American space travel industry and create new jobs for our country. The expansion in the United States will create more options for young people going into the field, instead of only having the option of NASA. Now, people have the option to go to several companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin,” sophomore Samuel Thompson said.

SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, remains the leading company in private and commercial space travel technology for the past 20 years. The company continues to lead in private space travel with several accomplishments and records that no other company accomplished, like launching the first package to circle the earth, as well as returning it to earth intact. SpaceX also made the highest amount of fuel-efficient rockets in the space travel industry.

“It’s a great thing that commercial space exploration has exploded in the past decade. It will make young people become interested in the space industry as it has done to me. All the different private companies developing new technology will boost space travel technology to a new era,” sophomore Pavan Katragada said.

Virgin Galactic, founded by British billionaire and entrepreneur Richard Branson, took a different approach to space travel, specifically in the vessel that would transport a payload or passengers. Instead of a classic rocket to take people to space, Virgin Galactic took a jet-like approach, similar to NASA’s Space Shuttle with the multiple stages and reusability of the vessel. Virgin Galactic pushed back the goal of sending passengers in their newest vessel to 2023.

Blue Origin, owned by Jeff Bezos, remains the cheapest of the three, although a ticket for a 15-minute flight costs around 250,000 dollars. They use reusable rockets, called the New Shepard rocket, that will land themselves back on the launch pad, while the capsule, which can hold up to eight people, will land with parachutes.