Gabe Henriques

Space Tourism


I often think about how cool it would be for regular people to go to space. Expanding access to space beyond government agencies opens up new opportunities for private companies to participate in space research, and for everyday people to experience space firsthand.

I believe that if you could choose one single technological development that has a unique ability to shift our perspectives and trajectory as a human species, commercial space travel is probably it.

Thus far, tourism has primarily centered around exploring different destinations on Earth. Looking ahead to the next 5 to 10 years, I am confident that space tourism will become a prominent form of travel. This means that people will take regular trips to suborbital and orbital space. We might even visit the moon and other planets.

Right now, going to space is very expensive and not always safe. But as space companies expand their fleets, ramp up flight rate, and reduce operational costs, the price will go down. I also believe that safety standards will improve significantly as a result of rapid advancements in materials science, propulsion technology, and launch and re-entry capabilities.

In my view, Virgin Galactic has developed the most interesting spaceflight system for suborbital spaceflights. Unlike most space vehicles, their spacecraft has wings that can take off and land horizontally on a runway. This gives passengers a similar experience to flying on a regular plane, while reducing safety risks associated with vertical takeoffs and landings.

Launching a spaceship horizontally offers additional benefits compared to traditional vertical launches from the ground. It needs less fuel, oxidizer, and pressurant onboard. It also gives pilots and crew more time to react to any issues that may occur with the spaceship or its propulsion system.

As we step into the era of commercial space travel, we're not just launching rockets, but human potential. I couldn't be more excited about this.