A beginner’s guide to space tourism

Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos addresses the media about the New Shepard rocket booster and Crew Capsule mockup at the 33rd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States April 5, 2017. REUTERS/Isaiah J. Downing TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The era of space tourism is nearly upon us. With Blue Origin, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic each vying to be the first company to ferry clients on once-in-a-lifetime treks up to the edge of space and back. While SpaceX is the clear frontrunner when it comes to cargo and satellite launches, Blue Origin is leading the pack in terms of putting actual people into actual orbit.

The Jeff Bezos-founded space flight firm recently announced it will begin selling tickets for its trips up to the Karman Line — at the very edge of the Earth’s atmosphere — some 62 miles above the planet’s surface. But how will these trips actually work and what (if any) effects might they have on the human body?

Flights aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft will only last around 11 minutes total but are expected to provide the six passengers a full four minutes of weightlessness before the capsule returns to Earth. These passengers will be seated around a solid-fuel abort motor “centered in the circular structure like a cylindrical coffee table,” as Aviation Week reports.

Each passenger will be strapped into a chair reclined to around 70 degrees but angled to each face a window so that they’ll all be afforded an unimpeded view of the sky around them.

You won’t have to worry about snapping selfies or recording the flight on your phone during the journey as the New Shepard will be outfitted with numerous cameras capturing both the cabin’s interior and the exterior view, per Smithsonian Magazine. Just be sure to use the restroom before boarding, as these crew capsules do not include a “head.”

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