News: Recently, a company called Blue Origin concluded the online auction for the first seat on New Shephard, a rocket system meant to take tourists to space.
What is New Shephard?
- New Shephard has been named after astronaut Alan Shephard – the first American to go to space – and offers flights to space over 100 km above the Earth and accommodation for payloads.
- Essentially, it is a rocket system that has been designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the Karman line – the internationally recognized boundary of space.
- The idea is to provide easier and more cost-effective access to space meant for purposes such as academic research, corporate technology development, and entrepreneurial ventures among others.
- Apart from its academic and research-oriented goal, New Shephard will also allow space tourists to experience microgravity by taking them 100 km above the Earth.
- Space tourism is about humans travelling into space for recreational purposes. It seeks to give laypeople the ability to go to space for recreational, leisure or business purposes. It will make space more accessible to those individuals who are not astronauts and want to go to space for non-scientific purposes.
- Three private companies – Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic and SpaceX are now spearheading the human endeavour to explore space. Their progress will decide whether space travel will one day become as accessible as air travel.