Astronaut Scott Kelly is finding his Earth legs after a 340-day stay on the International Space Station (ISS), a trying trip even for seasoned space travelers. And in addition to touting VR and confirming people could withstand the ride to Mars, he’s also talking up sending civilians beyond the atmosphere.
Techradar asked Kelly during a media briefing whether he thought regular folks should travel to space. He’s spoken previously about NASA picking the right kind of people to withstand a long stay on the ISS, so we were curious what he thought of commercial space flight and whether it is, in the simplest terms, a good idea.
“I think everyone should go to space,” Kelly replied with enthusiasm. “It is going to depend on the person and what kind of experience they want. I think it would be great to have a variety of ways to go to space or near space.”
Kelly didn’t elaborate on the “kind of experience” space tourists could have, but those include an orbital flight (going around the planet at least one time), or suborbital, where the spacecraft doesn’t complete an orbit but passengers experience weightlessness for a few minutes.
He did note that if anything, there’s a spectacular view up there.
Several private companies are working towards making space tourism a reality. Virgin Galactic has already sold tickets to the first citizen space travelers, though it doesn’t have a date for when it will be ready to send them up. It did, however, recently unveil a redesigned spacecraft to do so. SpaceX and Boeing are the other big names that one day hope to transport paying passengers to the outer reaches.
Kelly, who has been to space several times for varying lengths of time, is open to a variety of ways for people to have a taste of what he’s done.
“It’d be great if there were a bunch of different experiences people could afford and were safe,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll see that in the not too distant future.”
Top image credit: Scott Kelly/Twitter (image cropped)