“My parents flew into space and all they got me was this crummy picture of earth.”

Space Tourism Cartoon 1Why is the field of history so important?  A short answer is that history can provide perspectives to past events that help understand and analyze the present. This year we have discussed how we are living in the dawn of space tourism. Yes, the ability for anyone with $200,000 to experience weightlessness for several minutes is imminent given last week’s success of the passenger space plane’s rocket engine. Sir Richard Branson, the brainchild behind Virgin Galactic said this past Monday, “Today’s supersonic success opens the way for rapid expansion of the spaceship’s powered flight envelope, with a very realistic goal of full space flight by the year’s end.” Lets attempt to place these recent developments into perspective using more primary sources that describe earlier advancements in air and space transportation.

Out text focuses on the growth of the airline industry in the 1920s between pages 598-600. After you read those pages, listen to this Space  Apollo 11  Astronauts  Ticker Tape  Paradeaudio recording of Charles Lindbergh’s return trip to Washington, DC, after his successful transatlantic flight  landed in France May 21, 1927. As you listen to the recording, list ways he was celebrated upon his arrival at the airport. Click on the this link for a 1927 Milwaukee Sentinel article that discusses the future of airlines and note the date of the newspaper article and how it relates to Lindbergh’s accomplishment.  Explain what insight this article on air travel could provide us about space travel as it relates to Branson’s quote above. Predict the type of ceremony/event to which the first space tourists will return. Explain why it will or will not it be similar to Lindbergh’s return or the Apollo 11 Astronaut’s parade (Right photo) after their moon landing. Is space tourism a big deal?

Where is all of this potentially heading? Check out this news article posted today where a NASA scientist states “human destiny” is on Mars.


30 thoughts on ““My parents flew into space and all they got me was this crummy picture of earth.”

  1. In response to the question “Is space tourism a big deal?”

    I think that at the moment it is a huge deal. We are venturing into unknown territory! This is not much different from Europe exploring and settling in the U.S. however. In 75 years from now, the idea of space travel will be so widely recognized that its existence will be overlooked. We will learn to accept and embrace it just as exploration of the new world was. Yes, space travel is very cool and an interesting new idea. I just think that it will turn into the new toy that is not so new. A better question may be, “How long will space tourism remain a big deal?”

    • Good question. I think that is what will push tourism to keep humans in space longer and then eventually give them places to go and things to do. We get bored too quickly where the fun of experiencing weightlessness and seeing earth from space (think of that!) may get old pretty quickly, as crazy as that seems. This is where it is important to take notice where we are now and how humans live and travel before it gets crazy. Before Lindbergh flew across the ocean, people were resigned to taking a ship. What are we resigned to now and what will change in the near future when it comes to transportation?

  2. Yes, I think that space tourism is a big deal, but not as big as the Apollo 11 mission or Charles Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic. Lindbergh was the first person to ever fly across the Atlantic ocean. The Apollo 11 astronauts were the first people to ever step foot in the moon. The people who go on the first space tourism flight aren’t the first people in space, just simply the first paying customers. This would be more similar to the first commercial flight of paying people across the Atlantic then Lindbergh’s historic flight. I highly doubt that a massive party all across New York with confetti and thousands of cheering people will take place simply for people who payed to fly into space. No doubt its still a big deal, just not as significant as the previously mentioned examples.

    • I get your point, and you probably right they will not receive a ticker-tape parade. It just seems like space is such a huge
      barrier to cross, even if it is paying customers doing it. My question is then, what do we celebrate in the fashion seen for Lindbergh and the astronauts anymore. I can think of professional sports champions as the only one. What am I missing? Will we celebrate landing on the moon again… Mars?

  3. Yes, I believe that space tourism is a big deal but not as big as it should be. We are going to explore unknown places that can lead to even bigger things. We could find things that benefit American and the world. I think people dont care as much as they should because they dont know the history of space travel and how hard it is to get to space.They think it is easy and not important. On the other hand I think it might get more recognization if it goes bad or depending on who goes up. People like Ashton Kutcher will get the media involved because he is famous and going into space. Competition will also make the industry grow.

    • I believe Kutcher is at the back end of the first tourists on purpose. I am sure he is hoping all the kinks are removed from the trip by the time he gets up there. Disaster brings attention and the Space Shuttle program is a good example of that. After the first couple of flights, most people paid attention only when the ships met some catastrophe. But there still was excitement with the first shuttle flights, I am getting the feeling from you guys there will not be much excitement when these tourist flights take off. Thank you for the comment.

  4. I think that the same thing will happen with space tourism that happened with international flights. It will be a huge deal, with a lot of questions, and few answers to them in the beginning. I do not think a ton of airlines will jump on board quite yet though. Except for the extremely wealthy people in the world, no one is going to be able to spend $200,000 just so they can spend ten minutes in space. Families need to save that to put kids through college and other things that are far more important than going into space for a very brief amount of time. Later once it is cheaper though, I think that is when more airlines will start to develop space programs.

  5. List of ways he was celebrated
    1. Was escorted off tarmac by secretary of war and his mother
    2. Gun shots saluting him upon arrival
    3. Radio broadcast describing his arrival
    4. 25,000 people waiting for him

    Explain what insight this article on air travel could provide us about space travel as it relates to Branson’s quote above. Predict the type of ceremony/event to which the first space tourists will return.

    Reading the article from the Milwaukee Sentinel, I noticed a common theme. Much was discussed about how many people they could fit in a plane (how many pounds it could carry). This might be instrumental in the business of space tourism. Virgin Atlantic can bring up a plane with a small compartment, that’s surely not able to hold more than 4 or 5 people. If they could continue their advancement in technology, I think one of the next steps in increasing the number of passengers that can be brought up. This would definelty bring down the cost for a ticket, which in turn would raise the number of possible customers (more people could afford it).

    I feel that the first of second paid flights in the virgin galactica will be celebrated, and will make headlines, put will be left out of the headlines. However, advancements in technology, rising competitor companies, and possible malfunctions or disasters will make the news.

  6. 1) Predict the type of ceremony/event to which the first space tourists will return.

    I feel that the first people that went up as tourists in space should not get a ceremony. If they do get a ceremony, it should be small and it could be only family and friends. This is all to new to us and frankly, I do not think a lot of people care about this. It is kind of like a “good for them” events. They are rich enough to go to space so good for them.

    2) Is space tourism a big deal?

    When space tourism becomes cheap and we can send anyone from any level of income, then it will become a big deal. Right now, I feel that not many people even know about space tourism and they don’t have any interest in it.

    • It is a very selective population that will go at first and they probably are not going to connect with the average citizen like Lindbergh and the astronauts had done. Are you saying the potential of what may follow these launches will generate more interest? Thank you for the comment.

  7. What struck me about the audio clip was that everyone was treating the airplane like such a big deal. For example their was allot of cheering, a band, and guns fired off in honor of the plane. The reason I found this interesting is because airplanes are often belittled today as many people complain about the service and flights being bad. This made me ponder if tourist space travel will one day be treated as noting special. For my and presumably my generation tourist space travel is very special. Many have dreamed about being able to go to space and it is surprising to realize that it is almost a reality. I hope that I will never have to say to my grand-kids, “When I was a kid we appreciated tourist space travel”.

    • Yes, I too was surprised by the excitement of air travel in the 1920s. But that goes for the telephone, cars, and tv — all examples of technology that were at one time new and exciting. But more specific to the primary sources on the post, I have to imagine that space travel will someday become as much of an afterthought as air travel is today. I am not sure how long it will take for that to occur, however.

  8. To answer the question “Is space tourism a big deal?”, I believe that the idea isn’t much of a big deal to us, but it gets the ball rolling for other companies creating new and efficient ways to travel in space. Its a big deal for what it could lead to rather than what it is. I sign that it’s not that big of a deal right now, is that it is not promoted as heavily as any other service and doesn’t have too many headlines in the news paper on the matter. Space tourisms major difference from Lindbergh’s flight and Apollo 11 is the amount of publicity on the matter. Also, Apollo 11 was so important because of the global race to the moon. Another reason the space tourism isn’t as big is because for a while we have gradually come up with new technology for space travel, but for Apollo 11, nothing even close had been accomplished before.

    • Good points. I like how you state “that it is a big deal for what it could lead to rather than what it is.” Would you agree that Lindbergh and Apollo 11 were more exciting for what they were at the time than what they would lead to?

  9. The reaction I heard was one that the people announcing it, were almost breathless and he was given a salute, he was accompanied by his wife and about 20,000 people were waiting at the airstrip. Linbergh was given a loud cheer, and as he walked out of the plane, the band started playing and the people were chanting, it was surreal. From the article, I can judge that once we got a pilot over the big pond, we got a passanger and a pilot, and now we have nearly 200 people if not more filying over at a time. The key thing I take away from that article is that we are not their yet, but we have the ideas. Also, i believe that fromt eh audio clip we can see the type of reaction people have the the first successful long distance flight, Lindbergh was one, the Moon launch was another, and a shuttle would just be another step. As stated by NASA, they are all steps towards getting people on Mars in the 2030s. I believe that after the first space flight, there will be crowds waiting, it will be nationally televised and everyone with a television will see it, no matter what they are watching, there will be video of it. It will be a national block party.

  10. “Is space tourism a big deal?”

    In my opinion, space tourism is a huge leap that mankind has recently taken. Although we may not be able to settle other planets yet, I believe this is the first big leap. Lets face it, we are not treating this planet the way we should, and its deteriorating (Global Warming, Oil Spill, Pollution). Another planet could be our next shot at starting a more “Utopian” society. We would of learned from out past mistakes and brought all the new technology and advances to the new planet, whether it be the moon, or another plant. In conclusion, space tourism is a huge deal because it is the gateway into the future for humanity as a civilization.

    In response to: Predict the type of ceremony/event to which the first space tourists will return.

    I feel like there will not be a celebration when the first space tourists return to earth, more just them making headings and gaining the company publicity. I say this because we are now so advanced that this does not seem like a massive deal, its not open for the generally public (general public usually doesn’t have $200,000 to blow on 7 minutes), and the fact that space travel is nothing new. It has been done before, this is just an advancement in it, nothing groundbreaking in my opinion. In conclusion, I do not think that the people that return from the first space tourism expedition will be honored, or celebrated as much as Lindbergh for the reasons listed above.

  11. It is a big deal, but I feel like most people don’t really care as much for space travel. I know that most people that couldn’t afford to travel in space wouldn’t really care for it, though it sounds nice, it’s not appealing to me. I feel like more people will care for it when more people can afford it.

    • Good point. I did not view it from an economic perspective but maybe the apathy stems from the fact that the cost makes it prohibitive for most people. Do you think space and earth will be divided by social classes or with it become as affordable as airline travel is today?

  12. In class, Mr. Lese made a point about how human nature does not allow us to be content with just the beginning of an invention. If we were to execute space tourism, we would not settle for 6 or 7 minutes. Eventually we would want to expand our time frame, maybe even capacity of the ships themselves. Companies would compete to have the best program to go into space and it would turn into a complete buisness.

  13. (10 point response)

    In response to is space tourism a big deal? I say yes. Just as the first transcontinental flight, space tourism will be yet another exciting and inspiring achievement that will lead to what people thought was hundreds of years away. Throughout the past 50 years or so or even before, different movies, novels, and comics portrayed space travel as something that would not be achieved in anyone’s life time; however, according to Virgin Galactic, space travel/tourism is in the near future. So near, that just recently the planes that will be used to transport people into space for a few minutes, were tested. Although it seems that not too many people know about this, to me this is extremely exciting, and based on pass events, I have a feeling that I will be able to experience this new form of travel and tourism. These steps taken by Virgin Galactic are very similar to the steps taken by Lindbergh, in that they set new standards and help not only Americans, but all nations across the world, what we are capable. Virgin Galactic is setting a new standard, which is bringing us closer to what everyone thought wouldn’t be achieved for hundreds of years. As Mr. Lese stated, competition within this particular business is inevitable, and as a result of this, we will soon see images like that of movies and comics showing humans living in an extraterrestrial world. To me, it seems as though this is where humanity was always headed. As the human population increases, the land and resources provided by the Earth will no longer be enough and we will have to look for another home. If humans do indeed find another home outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, a plethora of new businesses will spring up and will effect our economy and government in who knows what ways. Also, because people would be living in outer space the separation of family members or friends is inevitable. As a result, new ways of connecting with those in beyond the confines of the Earth will be created. I also imagine that, our soon to be obsession with reaching higher standars, will result in architectural wonders bringing us literally closer to people we know in space. What we thought was so far in the future is becoming increasingly present and if people don’t react in the same excited way as people did when Lindbergh achieved that unimaginable mission, I think they are crazy.

    • It seems from the sampling from this post that over 50% of guys think this is exciting (for many reasons). Do you think there are enough people who are excited about this and will they celebrate this accomplishment like those preceding events mentioned? Why is it that more people do not know about this, by the way? Thank you for the comment.

  14. (10 pt response)

    In my opinion, I honestly do not see space tourism as such a big deal. As I try to identify the reasons why other people may think the same way, my thoughts all draw back to one point: media. In the World Wars, civilians could not have really imagined the types of machines (tanks, guns, planes) because there were no movies or shows about them. With modern-day technology in movie-making and special effects, we can make machines, planets, flying people, you name it. Because media has pushed the envelope so far on what we believe to be futuristic, I think something like a quick trip to space is insignificant in the minds of our generation. Video games let you utilize the futuristic weapons and vehicles first hand. You can shoot lasers, fly into space, blow whole planets up, and teleport or travel through time.
    To older people who may remember the first men landing on the moon, this is probably a huge deal. When they were growing up, you had to be an astronaut in order to go into space. Now you just need a lot of money.
    Depending on the success of the program, I believe it will be a nice start to what we call the future. Eventually, we will be building space timeshares and resorts, so these 6 or 7 minute trips into space will seem silly. It is our nature to keep expanding and searching. Maybe the next place manifest destiny will apply is in space.

    • Danny, I think you are on to something. Previous generations understand what was done in the past to be able to accomplish the modern feats. I was born after the Apollo Missions but came of age during the Space Shuttle years. The Apollo missions seemed like ancient spacecraft to me as a kid but the fact that we have not gone back to the moon since 1969 makes me appreciate that age more and more. Your generation lacked any big space development as the Shuttle program closed down and before that, it was largely a forgotten event. To get into space we were told you had to be the best and the brightest – now you are right, all you need is $200,000. Time has changed in that respect but I think you should balance with what you see in the vids and what is actually out there. The real technology is incredible.
      Space Manifest Destiny? How would it work?


  15. As far as a ceremony for the people that return from the flight to space, I don’t think it will be that big. It would be on the news as a cool event and will be filmed, but I don’t think the reaction will be all that big. There would most likely be some news reporters at the landing area, and the people on the flight would be interviewed. Overall, the reaction won’t be as big as some of the previous space travels.
    Space tourism is a big deal. It is the next step in space. Rovers and just astronauts have become boring. We are ready for the next move which is normal people in space. Space needs to start expanding, and tourism is the first step.

    • Rovers and just astronauts have become boring!?! Watch at least the first 4:00 of this animation that describes how the latest Mars rover, Curiosity, actually travelled and landed on Mars. It is technology straight out of Star Wars!

      • That video of the rover is pretty awesome, but I still think people want to have a personal experience in space. The rovers may be going farther and see many cool things, but we’ve been sending out rovers for a while now. A lot of them fall apart and are worthless after some time. The rovers are cool, but I want to see some ordinary people in space. Rovers are only cool for a while. There is no connection to the person watching the video. Seeing pictures from a rover compared to being in space is like the difference between watching the Super Bowl and being at the Super Bowl. Space exploration for me has become boring, and I think space tourism can excite space exploration.

        • Alright, fair enough. I am beginning to see what I am up against with your some of your generation with what is exciting and boring. I can see the positive side in that entrepreneurs will have their hands full in making experiences that excite you and that could lead to some amazing break throughs and technology. But still take the time to watch these events unfold around you now because it is an extraordinary time to grow up and things will change so quickly that a perspective will be important. Thanks for watching the video – I just thought even Star Wars is probably a very dated reference to the “future.”

  16. I believe it means that if people invest $200,000 in the flight to the moon and it runs cleanly, then that flight will be an example and a goal of America’s to accomplish again or even above and beyond.
    The Ceremony for the “heroes” that come back from the moon will be very nice. The ceremony would take place like an inauguration ceremony would.
    The ceremony will just be like it was for Lindbergh’s. Confetti everywhere, people cheering, bands playing. But I think all of this will be put into an order. (Like the Inauguration)
    Yes I believe it is a big deal. It can affect our lives greatly if humans can be accommodated on a planet/moon. Would my child live in space??
    It is all heading towards the goal to see if humans can live on a planet/moon in space. And if so, which country/people will live there? Etc…

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