2021 was the year of non-astronauts flying in space


When the first human went to space, humanity could hardly have expected that by the end of 2021, space tourism would become a booming industry around the world. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space. On April 12, 1961, aboard the Vostok 1 spacecraft, Gagarin was accompanied by a 27-year-old test pilot and industrial technician. According to NASA, Gagarin completed a 108-minute orbital flight in his Vostok 1 spacecraft. Within another month, Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space. The first Indian to go into space was Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, a former Indian Air Force pilot who flew into space aboard the Soyuz T-11 on April 3, 1984 in part of the Soviet Interkosmos program. Since then, we’ve come a long way in space travel, with billionaires around the world now soaring to the afterlife in what feels like every two weeks. Space tourism is now a booming industry, but at the time, Sharma’s feat was an extraordinary first for the country.

Between 2001 and 2009, seven space tourists accomplished a similar feat. They flew aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station, negotiated by Space Adventures with Roscosmos and RSC Energia. On July 11 and 20 of this year, two billionaires, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos took a unique trip to space with an all-civilian crew. This implies that, unlike the 20th century, space is no longer exclusive to governments. Here are some of the civilians who went to space in 2021.

Richard Branson, Sirisha Bandla and others

On July 11, 70-year-old British billionaire Richard Branson soared into space in what can only be called an ambitious project that turned reality on board Virgin’s ‘Unity 22’ space flight Galactic. “Kudos to all of our wonderful team at Virgin Galactic for 17 years of hard work to get us here,” Branson said during a live broadcast as the VSS Unity spacecraft returned to Spaceport America in New Mexico. It reached a maximum altitude of about 53 miles (85 kilometers), beyond the limit of space according to the United States, allowing passengers to experience weightlessness and admire the curvature of the Earth.

Sirisha Bandla became the second woman born in India to fly in space. She was one of six space travelers aboard Virgin Galactic’s “VSS Unity” which took off into space on July 11 from New Mexico. After having achieved this feat, Bandla declared: “I take a little India up there with me”.

Jeff Bezos and his team

On July 20, a Blue Origin capsule carrying Jeff Bezos, his younger brother Mark, an 82-year-old female pilot and high school graduate landed in the West Texas desert after crossing the limits of space, a showed the live broadcast of the company. .

SpaceX Falcon 9

In September, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying four space tourists lifted off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the first mission to orbit the globe with an all-civilian crew. Civilians included Jared Isaacman, the founder and CEO of Shift4Payments; Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old childhood cancer survivor and medical assistant at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital; Chris Sembroski, data engineer at aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp in Everett, Washington; and Dr. Sian Proctor, entrepreneur, educator, skilled pilot and active voice in the space exploration community.

russian movie actors

Russia sent a film crew, including famous Russian actor Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko, to shoot a film called “Vyzov”. She became the first professional actor to pay a visit to the International Space Station. The team spent 12 days in the ISS shooting scenes for the film. Blue Origin, owned by Jeff Bezos, also sent a celebrity into space, although the duration was not as long as that of the Russian actors. William Shatner, best known for his role as Captain Kirk in the Star Trek sci-fi saga, spent a brief period beyond the outer space limit, the Karman Line, on the New Shepard.

Yusaku Maezawa and an Uber Eats delivery

Uber Eats recently made history by delivering food to space. Teaming up with Japanese fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa, the company sent ready-to-eat canned Japanese food to astronauts on the International Space Station. Yusaku traveled to space aboard a Soyuz spacecraft for a 12-day mission to the International Space Station. The spacecraft, along with the Japanese billionaire, was carrying a special package from Uber Eats, a brown bag containing canned Japanese food.

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