An ultralight approach to orbital space tourism

In an article in this week’s issue of The Space Review, Richard Speck of Micro-Space Inc. proposed a radical approach to human orbital spaceflight: to keep launch costs low, make the spacecraft as simple and as lightweight as possible. He proposes a spacecraft that is little more than a spacesuited astronaut strapped into a heat shield and thruster system, enough to get into orbit, maneuver to a space station, and then reenter and parachute to a landing. Speck goes through the technical details with such an approach, which could allow people to fly for just a few million dollars even at today’s relatively high launch costs.

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