Guest Post by Abdus Samad Khan

Space travel is happening!

And you don’t need to be a NASA scientist or a Russian cosmonaut anymore to hitch a ride to infinity and beyond. All you need is a ticket, a BIG ticket (say $250,000).

Once an exclusive domain of superpowers, lately determined billionaires have jumped in the game. They believe commercial space flight – manned or otherwise – is the next great entrepreneurial challenge.

The hype is created with the participation of entrepreneurial heavyweights, Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic), Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin) and Elon Musk (Space X) with varied ambitions from taking tourists to the edge of space, to landing settlers on Mars.

But such endeavors are not completely down to the wishes of rich people wanting to embark on expensive adventures. It’s all about economics.

With the retirement of the aging Space Shuttle, NASA does not currently have a system to supply or carry people to the International Space Station economically. That task has now been handed over to private contractors, Boeing (Astronauts) & Orbital Sciences (Supplies).

NASA’s approach has completely changed the way space travel is perceived and more players are preparing to participate in the private space race.

However, this October has highlighted the risks that accompany such ventures with two failures occurring in quick succession – one of them causing the first loss of life since the beginning of this new space race.

On October 31, Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo, billed as the first Commercial Space Commuter crashed killing its co-pilot, while the pilot miraculously escaped when his parachute automatically deployed at more than 50,000 feet as the craft deteriorated due to an apparent system malfunction.

A few days earlier, an Orbital Sciences rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) blew up immediately after launch. This was the third of a series of eight rockets that will be providing supplies to the ISS.

These events have suddenly cast a cloud of gloom over private space travel, some even suggesting the end of the road.

However, I do not believe this will deter companies from going ahead with their plans.

If we look into history, all remarkable projects have had their fair share of hurdles but man’s perseverance and determination have always outlasted failure.

The early years of airplane development are littered with disaster. It goes without saying that something like a car which we take for granted today had many fatal accidents during its development.

Space travel is dangerous, but looking at what we stand to achieve, it is definitely worth the risk!

Abdus Samad Khan has grown up playing video games at home, cricket on the streets and watching Swat Kats on TV. Is a complete snob when it comes to his preferences in Aviation, Technology, Movies and Music. He has strong political views and avidly follows all the “nazuk morrs” this great country has taken over the last 20 years. His day job is that of an HR-Professional/Trainer/Educator spanning over six years in Private/Public sectors.

Also by Abdus Samad Khan: Is it time to say goodbye to HR Dept? Not yet!

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