How SpaceX, Blue Origin, And Virgin Galactic Plan On Taking You To Space

How SpaceX, Blue Origin, And Virgin Galactic Plan On Taking You To Space
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    SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic
    are in a modern space race.
    Similar to when the United States and the Soviet Union
    competed to get astronauts on the moon,
    these billionaire-run companies
    are racing to bring people like you and me to space.
    But how will they do it?
    Let's start with Blue Origin,
    the passion project of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
    Blue Origin's focus is on commercial space flight,
    or space tourism.
    It plans to shoot a booster rocket
    with an attached passenger capsule
    to 60 miles above the surface
    into sub-orbital space.
    At the top of the rocket's arch, the capsule will detach,
    and for about four minutes,
    passengers will experience weightlessness.
    They'll be allowed to unbuckle their seat belts
    and float around the cabin,
    looking out the window at the curvature of the Earth.
    The capsule will then start to fall back
    into the atmosphere,
    and parachutes will deploy to bring it down slowly.
    The whole trip only lasts about 11 minutes.
    A ticket on Blue Origin's New Shepard
    will likely cost more than $200,000.
    That's over $18,000 a minute.
    Blue Origin has tested the New Shepard rocket nine times,
    and the company still hopes to send civilians
    into space in 2018.
    Virgin Galactic also aims
    to make commercial space travel accessible.
    But the vehicle it's using looks quite different.
    Virgin Galactic's SS Unity
    looks more like a plane than a rocket.
    The ship is made up of the WhiteKnightTwo,
    a carrier airplane,
    and SpaceShipTwo, a passenger spaceship.
    SpaceShipTwo can carry six passengers and two crew members.
    The passenger ship detaches from the carrier plane
    about nine miles above the Earth's surface.
    The ship then fires its rocket engines
    to blast about 50 miles further
    until it reaches sub-orbital space.
    Similar to Blue Origin, passengers will experience
    four to five minutes of weightlessness
    before the ship re-enters the atmosphere.
    The total trip should last about two and a half hours.
    Virgin Galactic has conducted
    three rocket-powered test flights of the SS Unity
    and it hopes to get its first passengers to space
    by the end of 2018.
    Founder Richard Branson will be one of the first people
    to take the trip.
    And Virgin Galactic has already sold 700 tickets
    for future flights, costing $250,000 each.
    Elon Musk's company SpaceX
    also wants to send people to space.
    SpaceX's ultimate goal is to establish colonies
    on other planets.
    The ship SpaceX intends to send to Mars
    could hold 100 people,
    and the ride would be a lot longer than four minutes.
    But SpaceX also plans to send people to space
    on their way to other earthly destinations.
    The Big Falcon Rocket will briefly enter space
    to make long-distance travel shorter.
    Traveling by rocket from New York to Tokyo, for example,
    would only take 37 minutes.
    And it would take no more than an hour
    to get anywhere on Earth.
    Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, and SpaceX
    are major players in the modern space race,
    but there are even more companies out there.
    It's estimated that space tourism
    could generate $1.6 billion in revenue in the next decade.
    So no matter which company crosses this finish line first,
    there will inevitably be another race.
    After all, space is infinite.
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