Suborbital Rocket: How does a suborbital rocket land when it returns after space tourism?

What the landing is really like when a suborbital rocket returns from space?

At least two decades ago, traveling to space was only possible in science fiction films. Starting from Star Trek, Star Wars and other contemporary science fiction films, we have seen how rockets traveled to space. No one other than astronauts could travel to space. But as per the present day scenario, many commercial spaceflight companies have emerged and made space tourism possible, and are competing hard to lead the space travel industry.

Commercial spaceflight companies like SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, etc., send spacecraft in both orbital and suborbital spaceflight to outer space. Today, this article will discuss how a suborbital rocket lands on the earth’s surface after completing space tourism. But first, let us take a look at how suborbital rockets are associated with space tourism. Let’s get started.

Know about suborbital rockets in commercial space travel

The leading commercial spacecraft companies have made space tourism possible by significantly designing orbital and suborbital rockets. However, since space tourism is substantially costly, few people can afford it except the ultra-rich. Owners of spaceflight companies like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Richard Branson and others are looking out for people willing to travel to space. You can do the space tour in both orbital and suborbital journeys.

Suborbital Rocket – What is it?

A suborbital rocket is a spacecraft that travels to outer space in suborbital spaceflight. But the track it follows intersects the gravitating body of the earth or the place from which it was launched. It travels so that it cannot complete one orbital revolution.

For instance, if a suborbital rocket is launched from the earth’s surface, it reaches almost 100km above sea level. And after traveling to such an extent, it again falls back to the surface of the earth. This kind of spacecraft is known as a suborbital rocket or spacecraft.

Suborbital and Orbital Rocket – What is the difference?

The two kinds of space flights that travel to outer space are orbital and suborbital. The orbital space flight reaches outer space after encircling the earth at least once, and it is possible because orbital space flights travel at a much greater speed. On the other hand, suborbital space flights cannot possibly go around the earth.

The suborbital rockets specially used for space tourism leave the earth’s surface and reach outer space. But because of the speed and velocity it uses, while leaving the earth’s surface, it brings them back to earth when the suborbital rocket intersects its trajectory and lands after traveling to space.

Suborbital Rocket – What is its use?

The leading commercial spaceflight companies indeed send suborbital space flights for space tourism. However, some suborbital space flights have been used to test spacecraft, and many companies also used it to launch vehicles that were later considered for orbital spaceflight.

Some of the launch vehicles are intricately designed for launching suborbital rockets only. The suborbital rockets that launched were both with and without crews. Rockets that were loaded with crew members are – SpaceShipOne and X-15, and rockets that were without any crew are – sounding rockets and ICBMs.

Some scientists are looking out for suborbital rockets for conducting microgravity research works. It is mostly because of the less expensive that would incur, rather than carrying people and enormous equipment to the International Space Station.

In the future suborbital flights can also be used as an alternative to parabolic flights that the space agencies use for stimulating zero gravity.

Suborbital Rocket – Know about the altitude

The suborbital space flights have been designed in such a way that it reaches an altitude that is greater than 100km above sea level. The altitude at which suborbital rockets reach is known as Karman Line.This position was chosen by the “Fédération Aéronautique Internationale”.

The Karnan line is an approximate point where the vehicle flies fast to support itself with aerodynamic lift after leaving the earth’s atmosphere. It would otherwise fly faster than the orbital speed.

Suborbital Rocket – What is the speed?

The commercial spacecraft companies have designed their suborbital rockets unanimously for space tourism. These rockets lift themselves from the earth’s surface at such a speed that they can reach outer space but cannot afford to stay there.

So suborbital rockets travel at a horizontal speed much less than 28000 km/hr. It is why the spacecraft returns to the earth’s surface eventually, and their speed is such that they cannot travel around the earth once and orbit it. So suborbital rockets in space tourism allow space travelers to experience weightlessness for some time.

After experiencing weightlessness, the suborbital rocket heads back towards the earth’s surface under the influence of extreme gravity.

Why has space tourism become so popular?

With every passing day, great numbers of commercial spaceflight companies are emerging. They are looking out for potential space travelers willing to travel to space on a suborbital or even an orbital journey. Even though space tourism requires a lot of banknotes, traveling to space will be a once in a lifetime experience. 

So, if you have desired for a long time to see how outer space looks, you should start saving so that you get to travel to space. In the news, many people dreaming of traveling to outer space have already created deposits with commercial spaceflight companies. Approximately 600 people have paid their deposits for space tourism with Virgin Galactic, and their tickets are priced up to $250000.

How much will space tourism in suborbital rockets cost?

Several commercial spaceflight companies are preparing to take people to space on short suborbital trips. As many people have already signed up with Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, the preparation for the recreational activity is already under development.

Commercial companies design their suborbital rockets with great comfort, safety and reliability. However, the exact cost you require for traveling to space will completely depend on which company you are signing up with. The traveling cost is huge, but it will depend on the development of the vehicles as to how capable they are of traveling to space with crew members and safely returning them to the earth.

Suborbital rockets from commercial spaceflight companies

Space tourism has been made possible with the advent of several commercial spaceflight companies. These companies make space travel possible for regular people by journeying in orbital and suborbital spacecraft. Let us look at the suborbital rockets designed by the leading spaceflight companies.

Virgin Galactic – VSS Unity

Richard Branson is the first person who has made it possible for space tourism in a suborbital rocket, and other commercial spaceship companies later followed. However, Branson was the first billionaire who made a suborbital rocket to rise above the 50-mile mark.

The suborbital rocket: VSS unity rose to an altitude of 53.5 miles and reached the edge of space.

Blue Origin – New Shepard

Billionaire Jeff Bezos started with his aerospace company Blue Origin only with the intention that he wanted to take people to outer space. The suborbital rocket of Blue Origin has been named after Alan Shepard, who happens to be the first American astronaut to travel to space. The New Shepard is a reusable suborbital rocket system that’s designed to take research payloads and astronauts past the boundary of space.

New Shepard is an 11-minute flight to outer space, which is sure to make your experience of space tourism a memorable one. The crew capsule can significantly hold six people together at once.

To Conclude

Almost all commercial spaceflight companies are looking out for people interested in suborbital space tourism. This trip will be short for approximately 11 minutes. The rocket will launch at such a speed that after getting a short glimpse of space and experiencing weightlessness, it will return you to the surface of the earth.

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