Space is the final frontier, and for many of us we could never imagine ever getting a chance to get so close to infinity. We’ve written before about Virgin Galactic’s proposed space flights for normal people and the long-goal of a mission to Mars. But you’ll be happy to know there are options for space flights that you can do much sooner and much cheaper. Find out about edge of space flights – because space might be closer than you think!
Photo By: Incredible Adventures
Where is the Edge of Space?
The ‘edge of space’ is that area where you’re at the brink of Space as measured by being on what is that fine line of of the edge of Earth’s atmosphere. While there is no exact boundary line, one is the so-called Karman Line, which is 100 kilometers above sea level. However, you don’t have to be 100 kilometers up to see the curvature of Earth and the blackness of Space. See, if you were to fly 30 kilometeres up, you will have risen above 99 percent of Earth’s atmosphere – and that’s pretty much where edge of space flights for mere mortals comes into play.
What Are Edge of Space Flights?
While commercial airline flights go to about 36,000-40,000 feet high there are some providers in Russia which take adventure travel passengers to 70,000 feet where you can see the curvature of Earth, the blackness of space and the white/blue glow of Earth’s atmosphere. From the Sokol Airbase (and elsewhere) in Russia, there are providers using the MiG-29 planes to take adventure travel tourists to the edge of space. The tours are usually over several days including local transport and training. You’ll also wear special high-altitude pressurized suits, in what is the highest altitude flight available to everyday adventure travelers. Right now, only astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station can fly higher. The experience itself of flying up is incredible as you go at supersonic speed at a climb rate of up to 330 meters per second. This is the only way you can try supersonic speed flying as a ‘normal’ person. The plane journey also includes all kinds of tricks and manoeuvres to keep things even more interesting with rolls, loops and vertical climbs.
How Can I Get On Board an Edge of Space Flight?
These trips aren’t cheap but it will be an awe-inspiring 45 minutes at the edge of space where you get a real-life glimpse of what lies beyond, as well as the magnitude and wonder of the planet we inhabit. At more than about 15,000 euros for the approximately 45 minute flight (including the supersonic speed flight) – you might need to save a fair bit for this – but it sure is more affordable than a reservation on Virgin Galactic! Plus it includes things like local transfers, food, accommodation and training. There are various companies offering these trips from Russia including Space Affairs, Incredible Adventures and Mig Flug. Read more about a first-hand experience here or check out this amazing short video.