About the flight for $30 million, and life on the ISS: a space tourist


While SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are preparing their missiles, read the story of a man who had to live on the ISS.

Lately, Elon Musk has repeatedly mentioned that the Japanese billionaire of Maezawa yūsaku to become the first space tourist, who circled the moon for the money.

Meanwhile, Blue Origin Jeff Bezos in 2019 plans to begin selling tickets for an 11-minute suborbital space flights at the price from 200 to 300 thousand dollars. And Virgin Galactic, according to its head of Richard Branson, has already sold 650 tickets in the space (about 250 thousand dollars apiece), and the first flight is about to take place.

But in fact, space tourism is not a new experience. In orbit already visited six ordinary (but rich) people. And the last one in 2008 was a game magnate Richard Garriott (he is now 57 years). He spent in space for 12 days — and paid for it with $ 30 million.

Garriott is co — founder of private space company Space Adventures. Today it is the only organization that has sent tourists into space. Moreover, Garriott founded it specifically to one day go to the moon himself.

Space Adventures is a kind of cosmic travel Agency. It does not have its missiles company sends people to space, buying the free space in the Russian ships. While SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic plans to send tourists on their own reusable rockets. And it turns out that Garriott was ahead.

“The effect of the review”

Garriott was the sixth paid space tourist in the history of mankind. (Until it flew into orbit client of his company, the first of which was a Japanese journalist.) The businessman went to the International space station on Russian Soyuz spacecraft, where it was free. (Space Adventure tried to negotiate with NASA, but the American space Agency have refused to carry individuals.)

According to Garriott, space flight is an emotional peak, after which life will never be the same. He felt “the effect of the review”: the so-called changes in the awareness of the vulnerability of the Earth, which arise during the examination of the planet from orbit or from the lunar surface with his own eyes. About this feeling to tell many astronauts.

When you look at the Earth from space, you see how the weather changes; geography becomes visible.

The sun and the Earth from the window of the ISS. The Richard Garriott

Garriott recalls: “When flying over the desert, over there is usually no clouds, and the visible created by the wind form, which can be appreciated only from space.”

Catch the eye and the changes that arose as a result of human intervention. Garriott says: “When you pass through forests in the Amazon or Africa, you can see a huge deforestation”.

“My sense of the scale of our planet has changed completely, and now I see the Earth as never before. I am sure that this feeling will stay with me forever.”

@HumanoidHistory @astro_andre @Space_Station Here is mine from 2008. //t.co/uf3xBJeb5M pic.twitter.com/DRWV8JvaHM

— Richard Garriott (@RichardGarriott) January 30, 2016

The day of the start: the Rocket is a “giant monster”

In October day, when Garriott had to go into space from the Baikonur cosmodrome, he woke up long before dawn and put on his suit that he tried on many times. Only now it was real.


He remembers the rocket — it was like an inanimate object, but it feels vibrant energy.

Garriott says: “You get to a fully fueled rocket standing on the launch pad. It is filled with cryogenic fuels that require storage at extremely low temperatures. It is a frost, dripping condensation. She creaks, groans and POPs, the valves clattered open and close… You are touching this giant monster and it becomes obvious that she’s alive.”

Transport of the Russian Soyuz to the launch site

Finally, the rocket leaves the ground and you feel congestion, measured in units of G.

“You sink into the seat deeper, the pressure becomes stronger, and this continues for several minutes until it reaches 4.5 or 5 G. Then it stabiliziruemost. In just 8.5 minutes, accelerating from zero, the rocket flies 27 thousand kilometers — and then the engines turn off and you find yourself in weightlessness.”

“After the engine starts, you find yourself in orbit very quickly. A few minutes and you float free in space and watching the Earth from above”.

Garriott explains, “the Russian “Soyuz” docked with the International space station flies at an altitude of about 400 km on the earth’s surface”.

Sleep and the toilet in space

About many the usual amenities in the space will have to forget. For example, in the absence of gravity before bedtime need to tie yourself to an immovable object. When Garriott was on the International space station, they had six people and three seats to sleep, each the size of a phone booth.

Garriott recalls: “they give You something like a sleeping bag, and then himself looking for a place”. He slept in the Columbus module, the European space Agency, which at the time was the most modern, and therefore, the quietest place on the station. “The older part of the ISS is rather noisy.”

Garriott said that, as a rule, about half of the astronauts asleep and half in pain. He was in the second half.

Richard Garriott (right) aboard the ISS

But the dream is half the battle. There is another toilet.

“How to do it, written a whole book, but there is only lies. Astronauts soften the picture.”

Garriott says: “the toilet on the space station is a place the size of a phone booth, where there is something bolted to the floor of the keg with beer. It’s something like a vacuum cleaner, which is able to cling to various parts of the body.”

“Urination is easy. There is a hose for removal of liquid waste, which works very well. But about solid waste nobody usually tells”.

According to him, you need to ride hole the size of a can of Coca-Cola, and in the absence of gravity is not always everything runs smoothly. He needed rubber gloves and wet wipes.

“During training, all the equipment is real, except the toilet, because in zero gravity it works quite differently, so the first time you encounter it already in space.”

“Figure out how to use the toilet, is a kind of initiation ritual”.

Earth toilets are easy: lift the lid, deposit waste, flush, close lid. International Space Station imaged instructions: reality even harder! pic.twitter.com/UsGLgevmy0

— Richard Garriott (@RichardGarriott) October 16, 2016

One ticket to space? — $ 30 million

The opportunity to live among the stars cost Garriott in a decent amount of $ 30 million.

Richard Garriott before the flight

When Garriott went into space, there were only two spacecraft on which it was possible to get to the ISS is the Russian Soyuz, owned by the Russian space Agency, and the U.S. space Shuttle, owned, respectively, by NASA. (Ship NASA does not fly in 2011.) Then NASA refused to provide a place for tourist, but Roscosmos said it has no resources to conduct associated with such travel research.

Garriott says: “We decided that it means Yes”. In 2000, he paid the Russian space Agency $ 300 thousand to the Agency “thought” on this possibility. Some time later he was fined 20 million dollars.

At that time money from Garriott was.

“A few years before I sold my first game company, Origin [Systems], Electronic Arts, and I have a lot more than these amounts, so I said, “Great! I will fly“. I was the first who agreed to that, and was to become the first individual in space”.

Actually, Garriott was not much cash — a significant portion of its capital stock amounted to, as Electronic Arts paid the shares. And then there was the collapse of the dot-com bubble of 2001.

Garriott says: “Most of my capital disappeared.”

Garriott’s father was an astronaut, so the boy grew up near the center NASA and lifelong dream to get into space: “After 20 or 30 years of trying to make that fly, I finally did it. And then the market collapsed, and I no longer had the money for it”.

As a comparison… here are models of Soyuz TMA 13 that I launched in 2008 aboard the Falcon Heavy launched last week that could have taken 56 metric tons to space vs a Tesla (given to me by my wife @LaetitiaGdC on my 56th birthday). pic.twitter.com/H8oIoMrVir

— Richard Garriott (@RichardGarriott) February 11, 2018

In the end, the company Space Adventures, Garriott founded in 1998 and is instead sent into space Dennis Tito. Tito studied at the College of Astronautics and Aeronautics, but then founded a successful consulting firm Wilshire. He flew in April 2001 and spent seven days in space.

Garriott says, “so, Dennis Tito became the first private person to go into

space — instead of me. Obviously, I was uneasy, but then I repeated what he always did: created another gaming company and sold it.”

In 2008, when Garriott finally flew, the price has risen to $ 30 million, and at that time it was almost all his money.

“Sending the last of the transfers to Russia, I was almost bankrupt. Again. So I have spent on flying in space almost all his fortune.”

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