Humans have dreamed of traveling into space since ancient times. This dream was finally achieved in the second half of the 20th century. In 1961, the Russian, Yuri Gagarin, was the first man in space. Imagine leaving Earth before anyone had done it! Nobody could predict what would happen to him, nobody really knew how the brain would function in weightlessness, or how the body would adapt.
Over the past several decades, space travel was just like dream for humans. Recently, however, the interest in space travel has greatly increased due to technological improvements. Since 1961, more than 400 human beings have ventured into space.
The year 2004 marked the 23th anniversary of the inaugural mission of the Space Transportation System--the first reusable shuttle designed to carry both crew and cargo into space for extended missions. Now the Space Shuttle performs many and important functions. Unfortunately, the space shuttle has currently been grounded because of the Columbia accident in early 2003.
The International Space Station(ISS) is the largest and most complex international scientific project in history. It will measure 356 feet across and will be 290 feet long, with what is nearly an acre of solar panels to provide electrical power to six state-of-the-art laboratories. The station will be in an orbit with an altitude of 250 statute miles with an inclination of 51.6 degrees. The ISS will be completed in 2010 and it will play a role in way-station for space tours.
The space tours will become an actuality in the near future, with an optimal fare. The most difficult obstacles to having space tours are to develop a light, reusable propulsion system which would be effective as well as enable low-cost space travel. If airplanes were thrown away after every flight, air travel would never have become a business! Some companies are conducting research on ways for human beings to stay in as zero-g environment (space hotel). Once hotel companies start to build and operate orbital accommodations, there will be endless improvements, and completion to build more and more exotic facilities. One of the areas in which they'll compete will be in building zero-G sports centers.
About 30 or 40 years from now, we could go on a honeymoon or a school excursion in space.