July 21, 2019
Latest News
Science & Technology

Ex-astronaut says space tourism unlikely to harm environment

 Former NASA astronaut Mary Ellen Weber talks to reporters at the US Embassy in Nur-Sultan on Friday, July 5.  EFE-EPA/Kulpash Konyrova

Former NASA astronaut Mary Ellen Weber talks to reporters at the US Embassy in Nur-Sultan on Friday, July 5. EFE-EPA/Kulpash Konyrova

Nur-Sultan, Jul 5 (efe-epa).- Space tourism does not pose a significant threat to the environment, former NASA astronaut Mary Ellen Weber said here, stressing that the US space agency is already working on more environmentally friendly propulsion systems.

"Many things affect the environment and I am not sure that we will be doing so many space tourism flights every year that it will have a dramatic impact on the environment," she said during a meeting with the press at the US Embassy in the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan.

"I know that NASA is working on developing fuels for launches and operations that will be less damaging to the environment, I know that NASA is investing a lot of money trying to make it safer" for the planet, Weber, a veteran of two space shuttle missions, told reporters.

A total of seven tourists visited the International Space Station (ISS) between 2001 and 2009.

The first to make the trip was US financial mogul Dennis Tito, who paid a reported $20 million for the privilege. Canada's Guy Laliberte, the billionaire co-founder of Cirque du Soleil, traveled to the ISS in 2009.

Both men booked their passage through Space Adventures, Ltd., a firm based in the United States.

Russia and the US decided to suspend space tourism in 2011 after Russia's Soyuz became the only link between Earth and the orbital platform with the retirement of NASA's space shuttles.

One reason for the decision was the lack of room aboard the Soyuz after the number of ISS crew members was doubled from three to six.

Yet the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, planned to fly British singer Sarah Brightman to the ISS in 2015, only for her to cancel the trip for "family reasons."

Recently, Roscosmos and Space Adventures signed a contract for short flights to the ISS before the end of 2021.

Russia has also announced another project to promote space tourism, offering brave travelers to repeat Yuri Gagarin's 108-minute flight around Earth on April 12, 1961.

The Soyuz manufacturing consortium says that the price of a ticket to space may drop once Boeing's Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon start tourist flights in the next two years.

Weber, who left NASA in 2002, said that flying into space is "a very difficult thing and it's very dangerous."

"Every astronaut must prepare to not come home," she said.

The fact of having to take out private life insurance - NASA excludes space flights as part of policy - and having to designate a person from the astronaut corps to be the point of contact for the family in case the unthinkable happens, is "in some sense stressful," she said.

"The most stress from flying in space is that you do not want to make a mistake," Weber said. "It is one thing to not come home, it's another thing for the crew not to come home because of something you did or did not do right." EFE

News history
Russian spacecraft takes off for ISS, pays tribute to Apollo 11 Moon landing

Moscow, Jul 20 (efe-epa).-Russia's Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft lifted off on Saturday night from Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome on a trip to the International...

US sees Moon landing anniversary as stimulus for new space race

By Alvaro Blanco

Chinese space lab Tiangong 2 to fall to Earth in controlled reentry

Beijing, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- Chinese space lab Tiangong 2 is set to return to Earth on Friday through a controlled reentry into the atmosphere after spending...

Happy 40th birthday: Tokyo exhibit evokes Walkman nostalgia

By Nora Olive

India to re-launch Moon mission Chandrayaan-2 next week

New Delhi, Jul 18 (efe-epa).- India’s space agency said Thursday that it would carry out the launch of its unmanned mission to explore the Moon's...

Another delay in India’s prestigious lunar mission, disappointing but needed

Madrid Desk, Jul 17 (efe-epa).- Fifty years ago Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the moon and no one has left their footprints on the rocky...

Ecuadorian women scientists slam gender gap in their profession

By Christian A. Sanchez

Another delay in India’s prestigious lunar mission, disappointing but needed

By Sarwar Kashani

European Vega rocket lost shortly after liftoff

Paris, Jul 11 (efe-epa).- A European Vega rocket that was launching a satellite into space was lost shortly after liftoff from the Kourou base in French...

Apple strengthens its presence in China with new app development center

Shanghai, Jul 10 (efe-epa).- Apple has reinforced its bid to conquer the mouthwatering Chinese market by inaugurating its first application development...

Google backs AI to solve global issues

Tokyo, Jul 10 (efe-epa) .- Tech giant Google is championing artificial intelligence (AI) to solve global problems in the areas of health, the prediction of...

Appeals court rules Trump can't block Twitter critics

New York, Jul 9 (efe-epa).- A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that President Donald Trump did not have the right to block critics on his Twitter...

Time-travelling Big Bang show launches in Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain, Jul 9 (efe-epa).- The “Universe Room”, a permanent exhibition which takes visitors on a time-traveling exercise to the origins of the...

Spanish minister visiting Cuba focuses on education, cooperation

Havana, Jul 8 (efe-epa).- Spain's former astronaut and acting Science, Innovation and Universities Minister Pedro Duque began his two-day visit to Cuba this...

Ecuador's Life Raft of the Frogs blends research, conservation

By Christian A. Sanchez.

Moon landing anniversary: 12 astronauts have walked on its surface

Madrid, Jul 8 (efe-epa).- Since the Soviet Union launched the first Luna-1 probe in 1959, around 60 manned and unmanned missions have been sent to the Moon.

Ex-astronaut says space tourism unlikely to harm environment

Nur-Sultan, Jul 5 (efe-epa).- Space tourism does not pose a significant threat to the environment, former NASA astronaut Mary Ellen Weber said here,...

Australian watchdog sues Samsung over water-resistant phone ads

Sydney, Australia, Jul 5 (ee-epa).- Australian authorities have filed a lawsuit against the Australian subsidiary of South Korean conglomerate Samsung...

By Andres Sanchez Braun

Chileans turn out to view total solar eclipse

Santiago, Jul 2 (efe-epa).- Thousands of Chileans turned out on Tuesday on the streets of Santiago and on the summit of San Cristobal Hill to view a total...

Are animals moral agents?

By Luis Lidón

New York Met celebrates 50th year since man set foot on the moon

By Alvaro Celorio

Australian researchers pinpoint cosmic radio wave burst's origin for 1st time

Sydney, Australia, Jun 28 (efe-epa).- An Australian-led international team of astronomers has been able to pinpoint the precise location of a one-off burst...

New documentary takes fresh look at Apollo program

By Ana Mengotti

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.