Capitalism in space: Russia and Space Adventures have inked a deal to fly two tourists to ISS in 2023, with one doing the first space tourist spacewalk.
At the moment they do not have any signed customers, but this agreement is essentially an okay from Russia to do the spacewalk, and is probably an effort by them to offer something better than SpaceX for its tourist flights. For SpaceX or Boeing to offer spacewalks will require cooperation from NASA, since neither company has spacesuits capable of doing such a thing. They need NASA’s suits, but NASA will likely not give its approval, at least in the near future. Unlike the Russian Orlan suits, the NASA spacesuits are very complex and difficult to use. Letting a tourist use one for a spacewalk is probably too risky.
Thus, don’t be surprised if SpaceX soon begins designing its own EVA spacesuit.
Either way, the next few years in space are getting more exciting by the day. SpaceX already has two contracts for tourist flights, and Russia is upping the competition by offering spacewalks. On top of that Axiom is beginning construction on its own space station habitat on ISS where tourists can live.
Expect lots of private commercial manned flights in the coming years.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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