If your childhood dream was to be an astronaut and you love nothing more than the thought of zero gravity, you’ll probably be pretty happy to hear that human space flight company Space Perspective has just scheduled its first test flight for early next year.
According to CNN Travel, the firm - based in Florida - is setting plans in place to fly people to the edge of space, with a pilot and up to eight intrepid explorers in what has been described as a high-tech hot air balloon of sorts.
The first test flight - being launched from the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center - will be uncrewed and carrying research payloads, but the hope is that space tourists will be able to go on six-hour trips to space in a few years’ time.
These trips will involve a two-hour gentle ascent above 99 per cent of the earth’s atmosphere to reach 100,000 ft - something that only 20 people in human history have actually done.
Passengers will then enjoy another two hours looking at the view before the spaceship heads back to splash down safely in the sea, with the amateur astronauts catching a boat back to shore.
Space Perspective founder Jane Poynter said: “We're committed to fundamentally changing the way people have access to space - both to perform much-needed research to benefit life on earth and to affect how we view and connect with our planet.”
So it seems as though it’s a few years yet before trips to space will become a typical weekend family outing… why not bridge the gap with an astronomical telescope so you can at least keep an eye on what’s going on up there for now?