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Written by Ritu Johny on June 2, 2020 Share on

Next Vacation to Outer Space Maybe?

As the internet launched into (get it?) memes of people congratulating NASA astronauts for taking the right decision to leave Earth on a SpaceX rocket circa 2020, it got us at Pickyourtrail thinking about how distant the dream of exploring outer space actually is… Read on to space out!

The Beginning – A moment to be cherished

“Welcome to the International Space Station (ISS),” Christopher Cassidy, a NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) astronaut and commander of ISS, said to Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley. Crew Dragon, the ambitious spacecraft of Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX, had arrived after a successful launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. SpaceX is the FIRST commercial corporation to ferry astronauts into orbit, in pursuit of Musk’s dream to establish settlements on Mars. 

The Cause – The ultimate purpose of the mission

The Crew Dragon is a test flight to check if it meets NASA’s requirements to regularise trips to the space station for astronauts, and eventually space tourists too. The agency was relying on Russia for the same after the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011.

Crew Dragon has passed all its initial tests so far, “today, the Dragon is extremely healthy,” said Steve Stich, deputy manager of NASA’s commercial crew program. The current mission will be deemed a success only upon the return of Behnken and Hurley to Earth, after testing the capabilities of the capsule. The spacecraft can stay for up to 4 months in orbit, which could be extended depending upon the resilience of its solar panels. 

Also read: What Future Travel Looks Like in the Post-Covid Era

The Excitement – The pursuit of happiness!

If all goes according to plan, NASA will use the findings to accredit Crew Dragon as fit for routine flights to the ISS. Following which, the next and first operational Crew Dragon mission will embark with 3 astronauts from NASA and 1 from Japanese space agency.

The space agency also confirmed that Hollywood star Tom Cruise had evinced interest to utilise the ISS for a movie! Axiom Space and Space Adventures, two separate companies, announced plans to buy launches in Musk’s spacecraft to introduce spaceflight or short orbit journeys for people outside of NASA too! 

The first launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket at Kennedy Space Center, United States.
The first launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket at Kennedy Space Center, United States.

The Moment – Moon and Mars, not so far anymore!

On the other hand, SpaceX is also building a brand new rocket named Starship to realise the dream of travelling to the Moon and Mars in the not-so-distant future! “Everything in our trajectory is towards that particular moment to launch people on a spaceship,” said Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of build and flight reliability, SpaceX, at a press conference. 

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, had also unveiled a Moon lander design by Blue Origin – his space exploration company – to launch equipment and humans into the lunar surface by 2024. This furthers his vision of a future where humans live and work in space!

An astronaut chilling with a beer on the Moon
Credits: SpaceX on Flickr

So, do you think space travel would be the next bucket list adventure to be ticked off? Well 2020 is sure turning out to be unpredictable by the minute! Go follow @Pickyourtrail on Instagram to be on your toes for the latest trends of the world. And while you’re at it, you could also try out the manual control system used by Behnken and Hurley! 

Ps. All you need is a browser, strictly no spaceships!

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