Space tourism took a giant leap in 2021: Here's 10 milestones from the year

The story has just begun after this year's increase in space tourists flying to space on a bunch of different systems.
Several people each with minimal training in professional spaceflight were sent aloft by Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and SpaceX in their first tourist-focused missions this year. Two sets of space tourists were brought into space by the Russian federal space agency.

We rounded up some of the main milestones of the year below, with more tourist flights and the expected addition of company Axiom Space expected in 2022.

The International Space Station will have a life in 2021.

The first crew for the year 2022.

Michael Lopez-Alegria is a former NASA Astronaut, Larry Connor is a U.S. real estate entrepreneur and Mark Pathy is a Canadian investor. Credit:

The first privately-funded and operated mission to the International Space Station was revealed by Axiom Space. The flight is arranged under a commercial agreement with NASA.

The five people who will launch on a SpaceX Dragon are Larry Connor, an American real estate and technology entrepreneur; Eytan Stibbe, a businessman and former Israeli fighter pilot; Mark Pathy, a Canadian investor and philanthropist; and Michael Lopez-Alegria, a retired NASA astronauts.

The agreement to fly three more missions was announced in June. The crew of the Ax-1 was cleared by NASA.

A test flight is launched and sticks the landing.

After several attempts on previous test landing that didn't go as planned, the prototype of the spaceship launched its own test flight May 5 and made it all the way from takeoff to touchdown.
On the 60th anniversary of the United States' first-ever crewed spaceflight, the uncrewed test flight fell on the day. The company hopes to use Starship to branch out into the solar system.

Richard Branson is the creator of Virgin Galactic.

The image is from Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic launched its first flight on July 11. It was the most amazing experience of his life, said the billionaire businessman during a live broadcast.
The four-person crew and two pilots of the Unity 22 test flight mission took off from the company's Spaceport America facility in New Mexico and flew just above the boundary of space, where everyone experienced about four minutes of weightlessness.
Future flights of Virgin Galactic have been delayed due to an FAA investigation. Virgin has opened up tickets again to paying spaceflyers.

Jeff Bezos is going to space.

Blue Origin launched its first crewed spaceflight on July 20, featuring founder Jeff Bezos and a group of other space tourists, including Mercury 13 pilot Wally Funk.
The New Shepard system lifted off without a pilot on board since the system flies autonomously.

The broadcast of Bezos' flight made several cutting remarks about the company flying above the Krmn line, an internationally recognized boundary of spaceflight that Virgin Galactic flights don't reach.
In an interview in July, Bezos said that Blue Origin is focused on building a road to space. The company repeats that slogan frequently during live broadcasts.

The tallest booster ever is by SpaceX.

On August 6, 2021, the company's Starbase facility in South Texas will be home to the company's first orbital spaceship, the Super Heavy Booster 4. They were 395 feet tall, taller than NASA's moon rocket. The image is from the SpaceX.

The new prototype of the Starship was on the Super Heavy booster for the first time on Friday, setting a new record for the tallest rocket in the world.

The stack was 395 feet tall (120 m), taller than NASA's massive moon rocket, which was 335 feet tall (105 m). Super Heavy and Starship SN4 are both over 200 feet tall.
The next major milestone for Starship is the orbital launch that may take place in 2022, pending an environmental review by the Federal Aviation Administration and related government groups. Musk has pushed back estimates several times.

4 civilians are on the first mission.

On Sept. 15, 2021, a private spaceflight was launched aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship and flew high in the sky. The first crewed orbital mission with no professional astronauts on board was called Inspiration4 and it was preceded by all suborbital flights.

The flight was commanded by a pilot, and was accompanied by a physician assistant, data engineer, and science communication specialist.

The crew of resilience splashed down off the Florida coast after three days of circling Earth.

William Shatner is the newest member of Blue Origin.

A "Star Trek" star went into suborbital space on a Blue Origin mission. William Shatner is best known for playing Captain James T. Kirk on "Star Trek: The Original Series."

Shatner was heard saying via a radio link as the capsule parachuted back to Earth after carrying him and three other crew members to suborbital space.

Shatner is now the oldest person to have ever flown to space, beating the record set by the older man, who flew on Blue Origin's first crewed flight July 20. Blue Origin dedicated their next crewed mission to Glen de Vries after he died in a plane crash.

A Russian film crew is on the International Space Station.

Russian actresses and directors bid farewell to their Russian crewmates before returning to Earth on October 17. Anton Shkaplerov is a member of the Roscosmos.

A Russian film crew, including an actress and a producer, landed with a Russian cosmonaut on Oct. 17 just days after Shatner's trip to space.

The movie is in production. It follows a fictional story of a surgeon who is sent to the station to perform emergency surgery on a cosmonaut, who would play the role well given he is a cosmonaut in real life.

The effort is a joint production of the Russian television station Channel One and the studio Yellow, Black and White. Given the small crew on hand in space, Shipenko took on several behind-the-scenes roles, including director, make-up artist, sound editor and cinematographer.
Blue Origin is the host of Good Morning America.

All six seats in the New Shepard spaceship were filled during the successful launch and landing of Blue Origin's next crewed flight in 2021. Michael Strahan is a retired football player and host of "Good Morning America". The crew threw 888-269-5556 888-269-5556 888-269-5556 888-269-5556 888-269-5556 888-269-5556 888-269-5556 888-269-5556 888-269-5556.

The experience was amazing. He told Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos that he wanted to go back. He wrote on the social networking site that touchdown has a new meaning.

Laura Shepard Churchley, the daughter of NASA's Shepard, was on the flight with four other people who paid for their seats. Blue Origin has not yet released per-seat pricing for customers, and we are waiting for more information on their next planned crew launch.

Yusaku Maezawa is a Japanese billionaire.

Yusaku Maezawa entered the International Space Station. The image is from NASA TV.

The International Space Station will be home to Yusaku Maezawa, Yozo Hirano, and Alexander Misurkin for a period of 12 days.

Maezawa is going to visit the space station on a mission brokered by the U.S. space agency, but he is also going to fly around the moon on a mission that he paid for. It was not known how much Maezawa paid, but single seats in the past have cost as much as $35 million. Maezawa bought two seats, one for himself and one for Hirano, who recorded videos of Maezawa in space.

Maezawa, the CEO of Start Today and the founder of ZOZO, bought seats for himself and his friend. The mission was documented by Hirano and he participated in some health and performance research. They made the first delivery in space on the flight. On December 19th, the trio returned to Earth.

The biggest space tourism moments of the year are over. In the year of 2022, the company Axiom Space plans to launch its first fully private crew to the International Space Station, with other companies such as Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic all expected to continue their private spaceflight pace.
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