Since the late 1950s, all space research has been conducted by different government agencies, whether in conjunction or competition. However, recently private companies have been taking initiative and breaking this monopoly with new breakthroughs in technology. SpaceX has been at the forefront of this movement, and has just reached a new apex thanks to their newest rocket intended for private citizens—the Inspiration 4.
Equipped with two Falcon 9 boosters and one Falcon 9 Block 5 as the main rocket, the spaceship has some serious firepower, able to enter orbit in only a few minutes. The shuttle itself has also been specially designed for private citizens, as many lack the constitution and training professional astronauts have. “I believe this is revolutionary,” says Liam Heather, a senior at Walt Whitman. “If normal people are able to go to space in 2021 then space technology will progress at a rapid rate. For normal people to experience that is a very significant thing.” The mission also acted as a charity promotion and intended to raise $200 million for St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital.
However, there are some notable criticisms of the rocket. Even ignoring the fact that this is the trial phase, traveling by spaceship will obviously not become a common form of transport any time soon. “The problem is this transportation is all going to be restricted only to the rich billionaires. Normal people would never be able to use it, but it’s not like they’d even need to because of how inefficient it is. There’s no point in using it when you can just take a plane or public transportation.” That statement was made by Neil Palmieri, another senior.
Whether space-tourism like the Falcon 9 will become popular or not, only time will tell. But, until then, all we can do is look to the stars and speculate.