Space’s Orbite to provide commercial human spaceflight training program
Space hospitality firm Orbite has shown a training program for prospective space tourists, offering them a flavor of the spaceflight experience.
Orbite announces on May 12 its “Astronaut Orientation” system meant to launch potential space tourists to spaceflight. The three-day, the four-night program will mix schoolroom training with flights on high-performing and microgravity aircraft. It will also consist of a “space food lab tasting” with chef Alain Ducasse.
“It’s very, as we say, teaching people psychologically, physically, and mentally for what is truly a bucket list experience,” says Jason Andrews, co-founder of Orbite. Andrews, who formerly established space firms such as BlackSky and Spaceflight, created Orbite in 2019 with French tycoon Nicholas Gaume.
That training is crucial, he says, to make sure that people who pay several hundred thousand dollars for a suborbital flight. Or tens of millions of dollars for an orbital operation have a great experience.
“The last thing you want to devote half a million dollars or more to go into space for 5 or 10 minutes and you’re so frightened that you just don’t recall it, or you come back stating that was a bad idea,” he says. “The objective here is come and feel high-g and zero-g, and also we will give you emotional and physical methods to overcome those. This is so that it is positive, and that you can concentrate on boosting the benefit of the experience.”
Orbite does not have any official relationships with corporations developing suborbital or orbital tourism, which for now plan to do their own pre-flight preparation. However, Andrews says he foresees the event as one of the initial steps in the sales procedure for those firms.
“We imagine ourselves as the top of the funnel,” he told. “People who are fascinated in space come to us and we teach them. We really serve nearly as a guide in some cases: if this is what you like, perhaps you should think regarding this type of experience. Then we would hand them off to Blue or Virgin or SpaceX.”
Orbite intends to extend the Astronaut Orientation program this August at a recourse in France co-owned by Gaume, and again three times in November and December in Orlando, Florida. Costs start at $29,500 per person.
Andrews says the program might entice people who are curious about space tourism. However, not all may have the means to buy a ticket just yet. “We suppose while we’re there to teach these potential generations of astronauts. However, we’re also there to offer for those who cannot afford to go to space today,” he adds. “This is as tight as they may get.”
The Astronaut Orientation program is the initial step in the direction of the corporation’s long-term plans. This is in order to create a teaching complex for commercial spaceflight applicants. Andrews says Orbite intends to announce more specifics about that facility, including where it will be constructed, later this year. He says the complex would open in stages in 2023 and 2024.
Andrews contrasted the long-simmering curiosity in private human spaceflight to the small satellite industry. This took off in the last decade after years of struggle. “I think the same thing is occurring in commercial human spaceflight,” he says. “I suppose the decade of the 2020s is the decade of the industrial human spaceflight transformation.”