We are constantly faced with the prospect of traveling to the stars. Movies like Apollo 13 and Star Trek constantly whet our appetites for a journey into space. A bevy of TV series offers the various adventures to be had outside of Earth.

But aside from the fantasies these works of fiction provide, did you know that there are trips you can do to fulfill your desire for space travel.

These trips involve activities like viewing rocket launches to actual commercial space travel. Check these adventures out depending on your seafaring fantasies:

Houston, We’ve Got Travelers

If you don’t want to whet your appetite for space that much and intend to enjoy ground-based space activities, you can go to NASA centers or wait for their space shuttle launches at their ports in the different parts of the USA. These trips usually just cost you tickets, hotel accomodations or gas for your car.

If you want a detailed listing of their launch schedules, you can visit the NASA website here . The ideal places to visit is  their Kennedy Space Center located in Florida’s Cape Canaveral. There is a visitor’s center there which promotes education on the history of NASA and the history of the United States’ space program.

Some launches involve sending satellites to space. These types of trips only involve unmanned crafts to launch. Other launch sites include the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and the Wallops Island in Virginia.

For a more intimate look at astronauts and their training activities, you can go to the Johnson Space Center located in Houston.

The facility in Alabama gives a sampling of what astronauts experience in the Space Camp at Huntsville, Alabama. This camp is maintained by the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Tourists can go for space simulations and take a trial space mission which hurdles various issues at campers to check how they will deal with specific problems that crop up while in space.

The Experience of Weightlessness

If you don’t want to go far out into space but would like to feel how it is to float around without the limits of gravity, you will need to ride a plane performing parabolic arcs. A corporation called Zero G offers their weightless experience.

Zero G’s pilots will take the ship at 24,000 feet in the air. Afterward the plane angles itself 45 degrees from the horizon and moves up this trajectory by 35,000 feet. By this time, passengers will feel the tug of 1.8 G force. The pilots then tip the plane over or do a push over in order to create the weightless part of the arc. For half a minute, everything on the plane will experience weightlessness. The plane will be stabilized in order before starting the arc once more. Pilots will do a minimum of 12 to 15 arcs for the entire trip.

However, it must be noted that flying on their modified Boeing 727s isn’t cheap.

The company has made a NASA astronaut flying drill commercial. Their standard Zero-G experience costs around $4,950 a piece.

However if you’re a science teacher, you can check in on Zero-G’s various partners in order to get in on their educational program for you and your students. Applying for study grants in order to conduct experiments in weightless environments can be your ticket to experiencing this phenomenon for free. Here is a link to their Grant Writing Guide.

Aside from these options, you and your loved one can trade I dos on a weightless arc of the flight through their Weightless Weddings Package.

The movie Apollo 13 has some of its scenes shot on a plane flying parabolic arcs.

Another company called Space Adventures is also offering these experiences to customers.

Get in the Program for a Price

If you are curious and want to feel like an astronaut in training, the National Aerospace Training and Research or NASTAR Center is offering their training program for a price. Prepare to go on centrifuge simulators and experience the various drills that go hand in hand for preparation for space travel.

Billionaire Richard Branson is one of the regular patrons of NASTAR’s commercial training program. A payment of $5,800 entitles you to a two day affair which will train you for spacetravel. This particular experience is aimed at preparing Virgin Galactic customers for travel in their commercial spacecraft.

Lounging In Suborbital Space

If you want to have an astronautical experience, buy a ticket for one the seats in a suborbital spacecraft. There are now various companies which offer these little jaunts not too far off from Earth.

A typical suborbital space flight entails that a specially designed plane or spacecraft flies upward to 62 miles above sea level. This is the point when cosmic space begins and the earth’s orbit ends. Customers will experience at least have a taste of 5 minutes of zero gravity and be able to see space and the Earth’s surface.

Those who would like to go on such journeys will cost them as much $102,000. This is the asking price to get  a seat on one of Armadillo Aerospace‘s commercial rocket ships. Space Adventures also offers advanced bookings  for customers who can’t wait until the vehicles are fully developed.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic will also be offering suborbital space flights on their SpaceShipTwo. This vehicle will piggyback on a larger ship called WhiteKnightTwo. The designated space port for these craft is located in New Mexico which is dubbed Spaceport America. Customers need to pay $200,000 for these trips.

Tourists on the Moon

If you’ve got $100 million to burn and you want to scorch it in style, you can be one of the first paying customers to go on the moon. With that sum, you can get a seat on one of the Soyuz flights headed for the lunar orbit where you can see this satellite for yourself. You can book this flight through Space Adventures which will allow you take another person with you and one astronaut to pilot the craft as you orbit around the moon.

Since no one has gone on this very expensive trip, you can be the first.



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