Dennis Tito became the first space tourist in 2001 when he spent six days visiting the ISS. Twenty years later, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin successfully landed their first civilian suborbital flights, while SpaceX launched its first civilian orbital mission. According to investment bank UBS, space tourism could be a multi-billion dollar industry by the decade’s end.
In an interview with CNBC, Collins Aerospace’s Dave Romero said there’s interest in their spacesuits from countries that have not yet been to space and that future spacesuit operators will be more interested in “experiential activities.” In other words, people who will throw down enough cash to break the bonds of Earth aren’t just going to want to look out a window, they’re going to want to go outside. Indeed, Collins Aerospace’s marketing material asserts that their spacesuits enable “humankind to live, work, and play in space.”
Axiom Space, for its part, has already started construction on the first commercial space station. It offers packages to private individuals, including a 17-week training course and a flight to the ISS.
Of course, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the future of spacesuits, such as those that humans might one day wear on Mars. They’ll need to fit many different body types, be accessible to those with disabilities, and be easily repaired or replaced — possibly with 3D-printed parts. The next small step in the evolution of spacesuits is upon us, which might become a giant leap.
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