- This article describes places on Earth related to space exploration. See space for opportunities to go to space.
Space is — as Star Trek puts it — the "final frontier". Commercial space tourism is still a tiny market by anyone's standard, but it has definitely arrived — for those who can afford it.
While very few can go to space, everyone with good eyes can see it for free, and do amateur astronomy from anywhere on Earth's surface. This article describes places on Earth's surface related to space exploration.
Outer space was not well understood for millennia. People believed that the atmosphere extended upwards indefinitely, and if you could rise high enough on balloons or flying contraptions, you would eventually reach the moon and the stars. Astronomers could only observe the stars with their naked eyes, and without understanding Newtonian physics, the Sun and other stars were assumed to rotate around the Earth.
Around the 1600s, advances in math, physics, and technology began to reshape our understanding. Telescopes demonstrated what lay beyond our own world when we could observe the moons of Jupiter and phases of Venus. Through the theory of gravity and Newtonian physics we discovered that outer space is a vacuum, and why stars, planets, and moons orbit each other the way they do. Many more advances in the 1800s kindled more interest, with photography revealing details of our Moon and the identification of other galaxies. Futurist works of early science fiction like Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon (1865) whetted the public's appetite for space travel.
Due to the lack of atmosphere, you can't fly airplanes or hot air balloons to space. To date, only one method of reaching space has been possible with our existing technology: rockets. The Chinese invented gunpowder sometime in the 9th century AD, if not earlier, and used it for propulsion in rockets in the 13th and 14th centuries, even creating multi-stage ballistic rockets. Soon rockets were used around the world, although for much of that time they remained fairly unsophisticated, not much more than militarized fireworks. Inspired by the idea of exploring space, in the 20th century Russian teacher Konstantin Tsiolkovsky published landmark papers calculating the feasibility of modern types of rocket (using liquid fuels) and the requirements to reach orbit, and American scientist Robert Goddard experimented with rocket designs that would vastly improve their efficiency, range, and payload.
While early 20th century rocketry pioneers had their eyes on the stars, rockets had not yet escaped their military origins. By 1944 Germany had built the V-2, the first ballistic missile, to rain down on targets at speeds that made it invulnerable to anti-aircraft guns and fighters. The V-2 rose to 80 km before dropping onto its target, and some straight-up test firings were the first to pass the Kármán line, reaching 174 km. At the end of the war, the victors frantically sought to capture German equipment, plans, and above all the rocket scientists and engineers. The development of long-range ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) created the Cold War between the USA and USSR, but the advancing technology also led to the Space Race as both nations competed for various "firsts" in spaceflight.
The trick with spaceflight is that it's not about going high... it's about going fast. In low Earth orbit, that means speeds around 7.8 km/s (28,000 km/h or 17,000 mph), which is enough to circle the entire Earth in about 90 minutes. Under the leadership of engineer Sergei Korolev, the Soviet Union got this first on 4 October 1957 when Sputnik 1 successfully orbited the Earth for 21 days. On 3 November 1957 The Soviet Union succeeded in putting the Laika the dog into space aboard Sputnik 2, making her the first animal to orbit the Earth. However, the technology to leave orbit and descend safely back to Earth had not been developed yet, and there were flaws in the temperature control system, resulting in Laika dying of heat stroke only a few hours after the launch during the third orbit. On 19 August 1960, Korabl-Sputnik 2 (known in the West as Sputnik 5) became the first mission to successfully launch animals into orbit and return them safely back to Earth, including the two dogs Belka and Strelka, forty mice and two rats. Yuri Gagarin then became the first human to be successfully launched into space on board Vostok 1 on 12 April 1961.
While initially lagging behind, the U.S. program, with its team of rocket scientists led by Wernher von Braun (designer of the German V-2), caught up during the 1960s and was neck-and-neck with the Soviet program for several years. Then, in 1967 the breakneck pace of development resulted in fatal disasters for both programs: a fire during a test of the U.S. Apollo 1 which killed all three astronauts, and the crash of the Soviet Soyuz 1 which killed its cosmonaut. It took more than 18 months for the two programs to recover.
The U.S. recovered and even picked up its pace, landing Apollo 11 on the Moon on July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin exited their lander and walked on the Moon, a spectacle watched live by some 723 million people (more than one-fifth the population of Earth). Six more missions followed through December 1972. Meanwhile, the Soviet program had quietly run into problems developing its lunar rocket; having lost the race to the Moon, the USSR concentrated on orbital space stations, launching the first of several Salyut stations in 1971 and Mir in 1986. Space seemed very close; at one point, tickets to the Moon and as-yet-nonexistent space stations were being sold. Interest in Space Race one-upmanship wound down as the political climate evolved, and a new sense of reality set in. The wild dreams of the 1960s and 70s died as the public realized the cheap and easy space tourism they'd been promised wasn't forthcoming.
Satellites have become quite accessible (relatively speaking), and 14 countries and 6 private companies have launched a total of around 9,000 public and private satellites for weather observation, telecommunication, navigation, astronomy, scientific research, and reconnaissance. Crewed missions, however, have remained the domain of a small number of organizations, and since 1972 have only been conducted in low Earth orbit; travel beyond Earth's orbit has (for the time being) become the exclusive domain of humanity's robotic explorers. The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit by the United States in 1990, marking another milestone in space observation. While Earth-based telescopes are subject to light distortion due to the Earth's atmosphere, the Hubble Space Telescope allowed for distant stars and galaxies to be observed without that distortion, thus allowing for a much better resolution.
China became the third country to put a person into orbit with the launch of Shenzhou 5 in October 2003, prompting speculation that they might advance quickly and become the second nation to land people on the Moon. However, development has proceeded at a pace similar to other programs, with only six crewed missions launched in close to 20 years. That said, their unmanned space programme has progressed much faster, and they became the first country to land a rover on the far side of the moon (the side facing away from Earth) with Chang'e 4 on 3 January 2019. In the near future, they're working towards a space station that may be crewed by 2022, and robotic missions to Mars and asteroids in 2020-2024.
In a way, the new Space Race is the one to decrease costs, and it's been a long and difficult one. Rockets and spacecraft are expensive to design, and expensive to build. Reusable launch systems seemed like a logical next step, but so far they have proven more costly than expendable ones. The U.S. Space Shuttle, despite operating for 30 years, became something of a white elephant as the large design the Air Force requested never led to any Air Force contracts, and refitting the orbiter between launches proved massively more expensive and time-consuming than expected. (By contrast, Russia has been operating derivatives of the same expendable rocket for more than 60 years.) The Space Shuttle was retired from service in 2011, leaving Russia as the only country with the capability to send humans to the ISS until private company SpaceX launched the Crew Dragon Demo-2 in 2020.
Although rockets and space vehicles have always been built by private contractors, the development of private space companies for launch systems has been slow, and for crewed missions even slower. In 2004 Scaled Composites won the $10 million Ansari X Prize by launching the reusable crewed SpaceShipOne on suborbital flights twice within two weeks, but as of 2020 neither it nor its successor SpaceShipTwo have been used for any commercial flights. SpaceX has made enormous strides since the 2000s by vertically integrating, building almost all technology in house. In December 2015, their reusable Falcon 9 rocket achieved a milestone by autonomously returning to its landing site and landing upright (a feat they've repeated dozens of times, landing on the ground and on floating barges), and in May 2020 SpaceX became the first private company to launch humans to orbit. The astronauts of the Crew Dragon Demo-2 spaceflight spent a little more than three months on the ISS and returned to Earth in August.
Can you guess how many people have been to space?
As of mid-2021 around 560 people, depending on the definition of "space". With the advent of commercial space tourism, that number is likely to rise faster in the years to come.
With the fundamentals of space travel having been practiced for more than half a century, short missions no longer offer as much reward, and long-duration joint projects such as the International Space Station (ISS) have become the norm for crewed space exploration. These enable scientists to perform experiments lasting months or years and to study the effects of long-term habitation in space. Even so, budget concerns have been paramount ever since the climax of the Space Race, with funding everywhere slashed. Desperate for funds, the Russian Space Agency began to sell seats on Soyuz launches. Businessman Dennis Tito became the first pay-to-fly space tourist in April 2001, paying US$20 million for a seven-day trip to the ISS. Since then a handful have followed in his footsteps, some of them even on more than one flight.
Several more people could name themselves space tourists in July 2021, when Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin sent their owners together with a couple of passengers on short journeys to the edge of space, and SpaceX plans to follow suit with a space tourist flight later in the year. Up to that point, such journeys were made on an occasional basis with the passenger being part of a normal space mission, and costing tens of millions of dollars. On the other hand these companies aim to start regular flights, each with a capacity of about half a dozen passengers and ticket price starting from "just" a few hundred thousand dollars. While space remains a destination for just a few people, it's definitely more accessible than before if the projects progress as planned.
Most of the people to visit space so far have been astronauts or cosmonauts — professionals who are paid to train for and perform spaceflights. The distinction between the names is largely one of respect, with "cosmonaut" being reserved for members of the Russian Space Agency and "astronaut" being used by NASA, ESA, CSA, JAXA, and essentially all others.
The remaining few are commonly referred to as space tourists. As this conjures an image of someone in a polyester shirt with a camera around their neck, NASA and RKA prefer the term spaceflight participant. This is rather more accurate, as to date all participants have spent much of their time in space helping to perform scientific experiments. A more careful distinction might be drawn between government-funded participants from other nations that don't have a permanent astronaut program (such as Brazil, Malaysia, and UAE) and self-funded tourists who paid their way into space.
As of 2020, there are only two programs sending humans into orbit.
- Launched in 1998, the International Space Station (ISS), a collaboration between the United States, Russia, the European Union, Canada and Japan, has been continuously crewed since 2000. As of 2020, transportation to the ISS is provided by Russian Soyuz missions and SpaceX Crew Dragon missions.
- The Chinese Shenzhou program has performed 6 crewed missions since 2003, with the next one expected in 2021 to populate the new Chinese space station, known as Tiangong, that's being assembled.
- See also: Astrotourism in Australia
For many of us though, we remain stuck down here on the little blue marble. Fortunately, space travel has such a long history that most major centers on earth have played a part in it, now displayed in their local museum. They are scattered throughout many countries, so this list of museums is definitely not exhaustive.
- 1 Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Brevard County, Florida, USA (go east through Florida State Road 528 and turn left at Florida State Road 3), ☏ , toll-free: . Daily 9AM-6PM or 9AM-7PM; rarely 9AM-8PM; closed sometimes for launch days. This busy tourist attraction offers museums, movies, a rocket garden, and bus tours of former shuttle preparation and launch facilities. This is an official federal site — however, the visitor complex is run by contractors for a profit, so prices are comparable to private tourist attractions, not a typical national park. Basic admission (a 1-day pass) includes an excellent bus tour (including the complimentary bus tour of Launch Complex 39 and the Apollo/Saturn V Center), the museums (including the exhibit featuring the Space Shuttle Atlantis), and the IMAX movies. Additional special tours or programs should be booked in advance since they sell out quickly. Cape Canaveral also includes the Air Force Space and Missile Museum. 1-day pass: adults (12+) $57, children (3-11) $47. Discounts and other passes available. Parking $10.
- 2 Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum, Mahony Ave, Brown Range, Western Australia, Australia, ☏ . Daily 09:00-16:00. This museum displays the little known history of Carnarvon's role in the manned space industry, and Australia's role in the space industry. The museum can be split up into two. One focusing about the tracking station, and the other with the OTC Earth Satellite Station.
- 3 Hong Kong Space Museum, Kowloon, Hong Kong, ☏ . Small museum, with a basic history of space flight in static exhibits, including a single exhibit on Chinese space flight. It also has interactive exhibits, allowing you to fly a hang glider, work a space motion system, and simulate walking on the moon. It has a planetarium attached that shows movies projected onto the roof. Plan ahead if you want to see an English session, as most are Cantonese. It is fun for kids aged around 10 to 15 years.
- 4 Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics (Музей космонавтики, a.k.a. Memorial Museum of Astronautics or Memorial Museum of Space Exploration), 111 Prospekt Mira, 129223 Moscow, Russia (right beside the VDNKh metro station), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. M closed, Tu W F Sa 10:00-19:00, Th Su 10:00-21:00. Sergey Korolev Memorial House: M Tu closed, Th 11:00-21:00, all other days 11:00-19:00. A large space museum with over 98,000 items about Soviet and Russian space exploration, located inside the base of the Monument of the Conquerors of Space. There's a Soyuz rocket and a duplicate of the very first artificial satellite inside. Tours are available for booking and can be in English. Not far from the Museum is the Sergey Korolev Memorial House, which is the house where Sergey Korolev, the designer of the first artificial satellite, once lived. This house is also a museum, with over 13,000 items about Sergey Korolev's life. 250 руб for individual visitors for both the museum and the memorial house, 750 руб for families with 2 adults and 2 children aged 7-17, 2250 руб for tours with groups of less than 15 people.
- 5 Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace (Air and Space Museum), Paris, France (take Line 7 of the Métro to La Courneuve and then take bus line 152 to Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace, it is next to Le Bourget airport), ☏ . Oct-Mar: Tu-Su 10:00-17:00; Apr-Sep: Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. One of the earliest air and space museums in the world, over 100 years old. There are 12 halls (exhibitions) in the museum, one of which is about space: La conquête spatiale. There are many models of rockets and satellites. Of the four activities, the planetarium and Planète Pilote are space-related. The planetarium has a large dome-shaped screen with 7,039 stars and 20 deep space objects. Planète Pilote is dedicated to 6- to 12-year-olds, but parents and teachers may enter. It has an aviation part and a space part, and more than 40 interactive activities. Permanent exhibitions: free; activities for adults/under 26: €9/7 for 1 activity, €14/11 for 2, €17/13 for 3, €21/17 for 4. The Paris Museum Pass can be used here..
Where rockets and spaceplanes' go up. This section is visitor-focused, instead of the section "By orbital spacecraft" if you actually want to go to space.
- 6 Guiana Space Centre (Centre Spatial Guyanais), Kourou, French Guiana, ☏ (museum and tours), (rocket launches), fax: (museum and tours), (rocket launches), email@example.com (museum and tours), firstname.lastname@example.org (rocket launches). Museum: M-Sa 8AM-6PM. The European Space Agency's launch site in French Guiana, with a space museum nearby. The space museum has 2 floors, with 7 permanent exhibits and a planetarium. The launch site offers tours twice a day, one 8AM-11:30 and one 1PM-4:30; these must be reserved 48 hours in advance. Children under 8 cannot go on the tour. You can watch rocket launches from a distance of 7 km, 15 km, or 20 km. Children under 8 cannot watch rocket launches, and children between 8 and 16 are sometimes not allowed to watch rocket launches. Museum: adults (11+) €7 (€4 on Saturdays), children (3-10) €4 (€2.5 on Saturdays), children under 3 free.
- 7 Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC SHAR), Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, India. The main launch site of India. It has a space museum for visitors. It also has a viewing gallery, which faces the two launch pads and can accommodate 5,000 people. The gallery gives you the opportunity to watch rockets soaring to the sky.
- 8 Starbase, 54298 Boca Chica Blvd, Boca Chica, Texas (get off ramp on Boca Chica Blvd, drive straight until reaching the end of the street, which meets several feet near the ocean), ☏ , email@example.com. Not for touring, but viewable outside 24/7. Aerospace facility launching Starship from Boca Chica State Park. Although the launch frequency has been lower than in early 2021, there are a lot of Starships and Super Heavy on display there. Many launch equipments can also be seen, such as the launch tower with steel arms and eight white tanks holding propellants, liquid oxygen and water.
- 9 Tanegashima Space Center (種子島宇宙センター), Tanegashima, Japan (in the south of Tanegashima, you will see a sign to the center when driving on the Tanegashima main road), ☏ (launch site), (space museum), fax: (space museum). Jul-Aug: 9AM-5:30PM, Sep-Jun: 9AM-5PM; closed on launch days, Dec 29 to Jan 1, and M Tu after a long weekend (space museum). Japan's main launch site. The Space Museum has free exhibits, and tours of the launch site are also free. There are crowded public viewpoints for launch days, but you can watch rocket launches from anywhere outside 3 km (1.9 mi) from the launch site. There's a model of Kibō, a Japanese science module for the ISS, that you can go in, and the Rocket Launch Theater in the Space Museum. Free (space museum).
Usually, telescopes are hosted in remote places, with clear atmosphere. As such, Australia, Chile, and many dry countries host a lot of large observatories. Some of them are listed in astrotourism in Australia.
- 10 CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope, Telescope Road, Parkes, New South Wales, Australia. A radio telescope, which was the first telescope to detect signals from the moon back in 1969. There is a small museum with some stuff of interest to kids. There is a cafe with decent coffee and sandwiches. But the spot with the telescope and the wide-country and blue sky is quite special on a sunny day - even if you have no interest in space or telescopes. free - although you can pay to watch a short film when you arrive.
- Southern African Large Telescope.
While most space facilities that people working at are usually closed, some are opened to the public to some degree. With a keen eye, you can see what do spaceflight people actually do in real life, unbounded from guided tours and advertisements. There, you can appreciate the hard work that goes to space exploration.
- 11 Star City (Звёздный городок), Moscow Oblast, Russia (in the Zvyozdny Gorodok Urban Okrug of the Moscow Oblast, it's surrounded by a forest). A cosmonaut training facility northeast of Moscow. This town's location was kept secret until the 1990s, even though the media often talked about it. There's a statue of Yuri Gagarin in town. About 70% of its population of 6,000 have jobs relating to space. There are two parts to the city: the residential area and the Yuri Gagarin Training Center. The world's first and largest centrifuge is here, which can produce up to 20 times Earth's gravity. There's also an airport for parabolic "vomit comet" flights. The Hydro Lab uses advanced technology to simulate a weightless environment with a big tank of water. Finally, there are many simulators used to train various skills. It is still a closed city, though unlike in Soviet times, it is now open to limited tourism if you join a guided tour.
- 12 Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), 4800 Oak Grove Dr, Pasadena, California, USA (go north through Oak Grove Drive and turn right at the end of the road), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. The designers of the Curiosity Mars rover and the Voyager space probes, it gives public lectures monthly. Tours need to be reserved at least 3 weeks ahead, and they are 2-2.5 hours in length. Passport/identification are required to enter the lab. Free.
- 13 [dead link] Beijing Planetarium (北京天文馆; Běijīngtiānwénguǎn), 138 Xizhimenwai St (西直门外大街138号; Xīzhíménwàidàjiē), Beijing, China (at exit D of the Beijing Zoo station of the subway), ☏ . Closed M Tu, W-F 9:30AM-3:30PM, Sa Su 9:30AM-4:30PM. This is the first large-scale planetarium in China, with two buildings, one old and one new. The old building has a Foucault pendulum, a device used to show the Earth's rotation, and an exhibition with many facts about space. The new building has more stuff than the old one, and has models of all the planets. There are also exhibitions about the Sun and the Big Bang in the new building. Four theaters (two 3D theaters and two dome-shaped theaters) play more than 10 movies. Adults (aged 18 to 59): ¥10, children aged between 6 and 18: ¥8, children aged below 6 or seniors aged above 60: free, though there is still a charge for movies.
|“||Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever.||”|
—Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky, 1911
Astronomy is a way of exploring space that you can do in your backyard if it's relatively free of ambient light. Astronomy itself has now traveled into space, with the Hubble Space Telescope and other imaging systems, and even earth-based astronomy is often big-ticket high-tech science. Yet amateur astronomers with simple equipment — even the naked eye — continue to make discoveries. Although, be skeptical of commercial "astronaut training camps" that spring up from time to time. They're like screen-writing courses in Hollywood, they make their money from hundreds of wannabes while doing nothing to foster genuine talent. Only go on the basis that they won't get you closer to space but still look value-for-money as an experience. Be even more skeptical of "investment opportunities" and discount ticket sales on some unbuilt space vehicle, which might as well be powered by unicorns.
- 1 NASA space camp, One Tranquility Base, Huntsville, Alabama, United States (beside Utah State Route 24 just outside Hanksville), ☏ . Though a bit on a expensive side and sometimes unrealistic, Space Camp is an unforgettable experience for a child. The camp is run by NASA itself, therefore there are many real space hardware that are on display or used there. $1300.
- 2 Mars Desert Research Station, 2200 Cow Dung Road, Hanksville, Utah, USA (beside Utah State Route 24 just outside Hanksville), ☏ , email@example.com. Experience how it would be to live on Mars. The campus includes 6 buildings: the two-story round habitat with a diameter of 28 ft (8.5 m), two observatories, the GreenHab (a crop farming lab), the Science Dome (a lab and control center for the entire station) and the RAMM (Repair and Maintenance Module). $750 per week.
- 3 Johnson Space Center, 1601 NASA Parkway, Houston, Texas, USA (exit out Saturn Lane in NASA Parkway), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 10AM-5PM most days, 10AM-6PM or 9AM-6PM some days, there's more information on the website. Mission Control for Space Shuttle and International Space Station activities, with an adjacent museum. In the museum, there's the Starship Gallery, which includes the Apollo 17 command module and a touchable moon rock. The International Space Station Gallery has interactive live shows and real ISS artifacts, and the Mission Mars gallery is an interactive exhibition about Mars. Outside, Independence Plaza has a model of a Space Shuttle that you're able to go in. There's a rocket park nearby, and it's available for personal tours. Adults (age 12 and up): $29.95, children aged 4 to 11: $24.95, children aged 3 and under: free, seniors: $27.95.
Microgravity and edge of space
Jumping from a high place doesn't replicate microgravity: there's such an immediate onrush of air that your body behaves aerodynamically, albeit similar to a brick. You get slightly closer by jumping from a helicopter, since the air is blasting downwards from the rotor, and there's 2-3 seconds of "weightless" goofery before the usual airflow resumes. You get considerably closer by jumping from very high altitude into very thin air, so it might be most of a minute before you approach terminal velocity and lose the weightless sensation. Two 21st-century balloon jumps were from around 40 km altitude. This of course means expensive, complicated, bespoke systems to get you up there and keep you alive. You need to wear a spacesuit, and Orbital Outfitters was one company designing suits for such use, but they went bust in 2017.
The weightlessness experienced in orbit can be created by a parabolic aircraft flight, which alternates low g-forces for about 30 seconds at the top of its arcs with high g-forces at the bottom. These parabolic flights are notoriously nausea-inducing, leading to the nickname Vomit Comet, but commercial operators claim that their shorter flights (15 parabolas) are considerably gentler than research and training flights which involve 40-80.
- 4 Incredible Adventures, 1903 Northgate Blvd, Sarasota, Florida, USA (go onto Northgate Blvd from US-301 (a.k.a. Washington Blvd) and it's just a few houses until you're there), ☏ , toll-free: , email@example.com. This company provides zero-g flights either from Moscow or from Florida. You can customize when do you want to fly in the Florida flights. In the Florida flights, your plane will go from Martian gravity (1/3 Earth gravity) to Lunar gravity (1/6 Earth gravity) and finally to zero-g; and the flight will make 10-12 maneuvers, with each maneuver lasting 10 seconds. In the Moscow flights, the flight will last for 1.5 to 2 hours but you'll only get to float for 5 minutes. The plane will depart from the Chkalovsky Airfield for Moscow and St Pete-Clearwater International Airport for Florida. Children under 18 years old are not allowed to go on either flight. $3,000 for Florida, unknown for Moscow (determined by the company).
- Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G), 4601 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 1200, Arlington, Virginia 22201, USA (go west on Fairfax Dr from the Ballston-MU metrorail station), ☏ , toll-free: , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Offers flights from Las Vegas (Nevada), San Francisco (California), Orlando, Miami and Cape Canaveral (all Florida) on a modified Boeing 727 named "G-FORCE ONE" with a large compartment suitable for weightless tumbling. 15 parabolas will be flown, with several brief simulations of freefall, lunar gravity (1/6 Terran), and Martian gravity (1/3 Terran). There's about 8 minutes of freefall. After the flight ends, there will be a Regravitation Ceremony and you'll be handed out certificates and pre-flight photos. US$5,400 for 1 seat, US$55,000 for 12 seats, US$165,000 for private flight.
- 5 Space Affairs, Bismarckstraße 72, 28203 Bremen, Germany (Go to the Dobbenweg bus station of Line 25 and then go east through Bismarckstraße), ☏ , , toll-free: , fax: , email@example.com. Flights on Russian MiG-31 Foxhounds have ended, but flights on balloons named "BLOON" have not started yet, and commercial BLOON flights are expected to start in 2020. However, you can already book a flight as of August 2019. BLOON is a very safe and steady balloon and can ascend up to 36 km (22 mi). On the day before your flight, you will head over to southern Spain, where the BLOON launch site is located. That night, there will be some easy training and stargazing using telescopes. The next day, you must get up early for the flight, and the BLOON will ascend to about 36 km. See the curvature of the Earth! After 2 hours, the BLOON will descend, and you'll soon be back on Earth. €110,000 per flight.
- 6 MiGFlug, Grüngasse 19, CH-8004 Zurich, Switzerland (First go to the Bezirksgebäude station of tram lines 2, 3 and 19 and bus line N14, and then go through Wyssgasse until you're at the end), ☏ , , toll-free: , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. As of June 2020, this program is unavailable, but you can contact MiGFlug for them to put you on the waiting list. Offering supersonic flights with a Russian MiG-29 Fulcrum jet up to 22 km (14 mi), departing from Russia. The MiG-29 Fulcrum is not guaranteed to go that high, but 17 km (11 mi) up is guaranteed. The MiG-29 Fulcrum will be climbing up in a ballistic path at nearly Mach 2. The flight package also includes transportation between your hotel and the airbase, a medical checkup before the flight, flight training, flight certificate with max altitude, a visit to the airbase museum, and an optional HD video and photo service of you at the edge of space. Edge of space jet flight for 50 minutes: from €17,500/person.
- 1 Bigelow Aerospace, 1899 W Brooks Ave, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, ☏ . They built the first successful prototype of an inflatable space hotel in 2006-2007. In 2016, a prototype was delivered to the ISS on a SpaceX rocket to undergoing testing, but otherwise it will remain unoccupied. A 10–60 day "live and work visit", once available, is expected to cost between $26–37 million.