Our dreams of space travel have been long entrenched in human beings since we first looked up at the stars and realised how small we truly were. From groundbreaking technological inventions like the Hubble Space Telescope deployed in 1990 to putting the first man on the moon way back in 1969, NASA – or rather, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the USA that was established in 1958, has been our guide into the far-out regions of space that we could only previously dream of.
What then is next for the future of space travel? In the American way, the commercialisation of space flight has been a long-awaited next step for the national agency. It isn’t all brightness and light for the history of this economic endeavor, however. The subject of a September 2020 Netflix release ‘The Challenger: The Final Flight’, the four-part documentary shows the lead up in events that caused the 1986 Challenger space shuttle disaster. The documentary examines the human side of the tragedy’s cause that exposes the darker side of the quest for commercial space travel.
In their most recent venture to commercialise space, NASA has partnered with beauty megacorporation Estee Lauder to shoot a series of promotional footage videos on the International Space Station (ISS). Media reporting says Estee Lauder plans to send up to 10 bottles of its popular “Advanced Night Repair” serum to the ISS where astronauts will promote the product and record footage of its journey. According to some reports, the stunt is set to cost over $17,000 USD an hour. Stephane de la Faverie, the president of the company, told a panel at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Ascend Summit that he was a ‘risk-taker’ following the announcement of the partnership.
How long until we see commercial space travel available to all those with wanderlust back here on earth? Only time will tell!