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In addition, please read our Privacy Policy , which has also been updated and became effective May 23rd, Virgin Galactic will soon become the first publicly traded space tourism company. The investment comes as the nascent space tourism industry is still trying to work out its business models. Its passenger spaceplane, the VSS Unity, only made it to space for the first time in December last year. The transaction is expected to be completed during the second half of , subject to the usual approvals. Update July 9th, AM ET: Article updated with confirmation of the deal and estimates for first customer flights and date of profitability.

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Phones Laptops Headphones Cameras. For these people planet Earth was surely the entire cosmos. By the human population grew to about million. Our planet still seemed large enough and resilient enough to support any human purpose. At this time, a new development appeared - all of humanity as well as all of Earth's inhabitants began living with the threat of nuclear destruction hanging over their future.

And now, there are more than 7 billion busy humans living, working and playing on a very crowded and ecologically endangered planet. Barring a major catastrophe, by the year there will be at least 9 billion people sharing the planet with the rest of life that hasn't yet been pushed to extinction by human expansion. The positive side of having so many people on Earth is that humanity has never experienced so much creativity and progress in such a short time. Humanity itself must be considered as its most valuable resource and, in order to steer the future, its overriding challenge is to find suitable ways to feed, clothe and otherwise nourish this resource in a comfortable and prosperous manner without upsetting the social and ecological balance.

Yet, in this period human civilization has demonstrated its resiliency to adapt and innovate.

Meet the frontrunners aiming for the stars in the space tourism race

However, it has become quite clear that this cannot go on indefinitely on a planet with finite resources that is being irresponsibly managed leading to an eventual disruption of the ecological balance necessary for the survival of all life sharing our planet. In the 20th century humans began to investigate ways to penetrate the atmosphere. Today a communications apparatus installed beyond the atmosphere permits us to remain in constant touch with each other from any place on the planet. Orbital outposts are providing the information to enable human beings to adapt to this new environment.

Virgin Galactic to become the first space tourism company to go public - The Verge

Scientific instruments placed in this area are exploring the depths of the cosmos and investigating the state of the environment on the planet below. National security systems have placed monitoring devices that track developments and movements of opponents making surprise attacks less likely. Indeed, the functioning of contemporary society is totally dependent on these technological resources orbiting the Earth and without them modern civilization would no longer function.

Space tourism will lift-off in 2018 - The Economist

These activities have effectively expanded the territory of planet Earth from its solid dimensions of 12, kilometers to a diameter of approximately 84, kilometers. As the 21st century unfolds, humanity finds that it needs more room and more resources to sustain its numbers and to maintain its thirst for further development. The finite planetary resources that contributed to its present state are being irrevocably exhausted to unsustainable levels and their uncontrolled use within the biosphere is resulting in severe ecological consequences.

As it is unequipped to occupy and transform a neighboring planet to meet its growing needs, humanity's next logical step will be to discover and inhabit the last reaches of its own planet - to expand its activities to Earth's true boundaries as defined by the laws of physics.

All celestial bodies of significant concentrated mass exert a field of gravitational attraction around their cores which extends to the point of tangential intersection with other celestial bodies. Earth's gravitational influence extends 1.

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Figure 2. This sphere has 13 million times the volume of the physical Earth and through it, passes some more than 50, times the amount of solar power which is available on the surface of the planet.

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In addition to energy, within this sphere of 3 million kilometers are enormous amounts of other resources, including the Moon and occasional passing asteroids. Like the territorial waters surrounding nations these resources naturally belong to our planet and should be used for the ultimate benefit of humanity and all life which has originated here. As it has throughout its history, humanity must understand and seek nourishment from its home planet and it must now once again refine its perception of the planet in order to recognize and embrace the perception of a greater, richer and more sustainable Earth.

This is Greater Earth and within its boundaries our species will find the room, resources and opportunities that it will need to survive and prosper in the current millennium. To do so, its next step is to exercise its fullest capabilities to occupy and enjoy this new territory.

To infinity and beyond? The new era of space tourism

Undertaken responsibility and consequently, the severe pressures and stresses currently facing our civilization may be mitigated which may in turn lead to eventually achieving worldwide security, prosperity and ecological balance. The first and foremost requirement for the future of human civilization is an inexhaustible supply of clean, environmentally benign energy.

Instead of building the photovoltaic system in Earth orbit using materials transported from Earth, he proposed a more efficient approach which was to use an existing platform - the Moon - for the location of the solar collectors and to use lunar materials for their construction. Thus, instead of sending tons of materials from Earth into geo-stationary orbit at great cost and constructing these enormous and complex satellites in orbit, one would send a small team of humans accompanied by the necessary robots to the Moon to carry out the job on site.

The main criticism for development of Space Based Solar Power SBSP over the years has been the huge financial investment necessary which is tightly correlated to the high cost of transporting an enormous amount of mass into geo-stationary orbit. In the past few years, private launch companies such as SpaceX have substantially lowered launch costs compared to governmental launch systems.

On its descent, it is slowed by parachutes. And windows.

Britain to become Europe's first spaceport as UK joins space tourism race

Lots and lots of windows. Along with several minutes of weightlessness. Around people have put down a deposit for a seat. But the views, oh the views in the resulting Aurora Station, a space station billed as the first-ever luxury space hotel. Its doors are scheduled to open in The experience: The luxury claim is questionable. Four guests and two crew will be packed into a horse-pill-shaped box cabin, which measures about 43 feet long by 14 feet wide.

However, it will be miles above everyone else apart from the astronauts on the International Space Station. Guests will get to experience space for one and a half weeks. The flight was planned for but has been delayed.