a large wheel in space floating above the earth

The Future of Traveling  
This is what one company, Orbital Assembly, wants its future space hotel to look like. 

Courtesy of Orbital Assembly

CCSS

R.1, R.2, R.3, R.4, R.6, R.7, W.3, SL.1, L.4, L.6

Your Vacation in Space

Several companies may soon send tourists into space. Get in line for a trip that’s truly out of this world.

It’s spring break, 2027. 

    Time for a family vacation. You just visited your grandparents last month. Everyone’s tired of camping at the lake. Maybe it’s time to change it up.

    So you pile into the car for a trip to the launchpad. You ride an elevator to the top of a 230-foot rocket. You climb inside a space capsule with six other people. The engines roar. In a few minutes, you’re shooting through the sky at 17,000 miles an hour. You burst through Earth’s atmosphere. And in less time than it takes to drive from New York to Florida, you arrive—at a brand-new hotel in space. 

    What is there to do in a space hotel? Relax as you check out planet Earth through the windows. Have a soda in the sky lounge. Shoot hoops on the basketball court. There’s not much gravity up here, so guess what? You can jump 12 feet high—and dunk.

    Welcome to your vacation in space.

It’s the year 2027.

    It’s spring break. Time for a family vacation. You just visited your grandparents. Everyone’s tired of camping at the lake. Maybe it’s time for something new.

    So you drive to the launchpad. You ride an elevator to the top of a huge rocket. You climb into a space capsule. Six other people join you. The engines roar. Soon you’re bursting through Earth’s atmosphere. And in less than 20 hours, you arrive at a brand-new hotel—in space. 

    What can you do at a space hotel? Look at planet Earth through the windows. Relax in the sky lounge. Shoot hoops on the basketball court. There’s not much gravity up here. So you can jump 12 feet high—and dunk.

    Welcome to your vacation in space.

It’s the year 2027—time for a family vacation. You just visited your grandparents last month. And your regular camping trip to the lake is starting to get old. Perhaps it’s time for a change.

    So you pile into the car for a trip to the launchpad, ride an elevator to the top of a 230-foot rocket, and climb inside a space capsule with six other people. The engines roar, and in a few minutes, you’re zooming through the sky at 17,000 miles an hour. You burst through Earth’s atmosphere—and in less time than it takes to drive from New York to Florida, you arrive at a brand-new hotel in space. 

    What can you do at a space hotel? Relax as you gaze at planet Earth through the windows. Enjoy a soda in the sky lounge. Shoot some hoops on the basketball court. With very little gravity up here, you can jump 12 feet high to dunk the ball.

    Welcome to your vacation in space.

Dima Zel/Shutterstock.com 

Life in Space  
The International Space Station circles Earth. Right now, six people live and work there.

Fact or (Science) Fiction? 

    A space vacation may sound like science fiction. But we have the technology to make it happen. The International Space Station (ISS) has been circling Earth for more than 20 years. It’s a floating science lab. Six people at a time live and work there. Spacecraft travel there from Earth about 10 to 15 times a year. 

    Each mission to the ISS has been organized by world governments. Usually, only astronauts with years of training get to go to space.

    Now several companies are working to send ordinary people to space as tourists. 

    A company called Orbital Assembly plans to start building a space hotel in 2026. Another company, SpaceX, has already flown missions to the ISS in a ship called the Crew Dragon. It may soon take four paying customers into orbit for several days. And two other companies are testing special space planes for shorter trips to the edge of space and back.

    A space vacation may sound like science fiction. But we have the technology to make it happen. The International Space Station (ISS) has been circling Earth for more than 20 years. It’s a floating science lab. Spacecraft travel there from Earth about 10 to 15 times a year. 

    Each mission to the ISS is organized by world governments. Usually, only astronauts get to go to space. They have years of training.

    Now several companies are working to send regular people to space as tourists. One of these companies is called Orbital Assembly. It plans to start building a space hotel in 2026. Another company is called SpaceX. It has flown missions to the ISS. The company uses a ship called the Crew Dragon. Soon it may take four paying customers into orbit for several days. Two other companies are testing special space planes. These are for shorter trips to the edge of space and back.

    A space vacation might sound like science fiction, but we have the technology to make it a reality. The International Space Station (ISS), a floating science lab, has been circling Earth for more than 20 years. Six people at a time live and work there. About 10 to 15 times a year, spacecraft travel there from Earth.

    Each mission to the ISS has been organized by world governments. Usually, only astronauts with years of training are selected to go to space.

    But now, several companies are working to send tourists into space. A company called Orbital Assembly plans to start building a space hotel in the year 2026. Another company, SpaceX, has already flown missions to the ISS in a ship called the Crew Dragon. It may soon take four paying customers into orbit for several days. And two other companies are currently testing special space planes for shorter trips to the edge of space and back.

NASA

Flying Fruit  
While a spacecraft is in orbit, things like food (and people) float in the air.

A View From Space

    So what do you need to know before your vacation in space? You’ll have to prepare for microgravity. The motion of a spacecraft in orbit creates a feeling of being weightless. That means you float around in the air. You need to learn how to move around a room. Push off a wall too hard and you’ll bounce off the opposite wall like a Ping-Pong ball. Bumps and bruises are common for first-time space travelers. 

    Motion in space can also make you feel sick. If you throw up, be sure to do it into a bag. Otherwise, you’ll have small, stinking globs of vomit hanging in the air. Ew. 

    Another important thing to remember: Take time to enjoy the view. Fewer than 600 people have seen Earth from space. Many of them say it changed their lives. From 250 miles up, you can see the curve of the planet. You see the whole United States in one glance. You don’t see the borders between countries. “When I first looked back at the Earth,” said astronaut Alan Shepard in 1971, “I cried.”

    How do you get ready for a trip to space? You prepare for microgravity. The motion of a spacecraft in orbit makes you feel weightless. You float around in the air. You need to learn how to move around a room. If you push off a wall too hard, you’ll bounce off the opposite wall like a Ping-Pong ball. Many first-time space travelers get bumps and bruises. 

    Motion in space can also make you feel sick. If you throw up, do it into a bag. Otherwise, the vomit will hang in the air. Ew. 

    Another important thing to remember: Enjoy the view. Fewer than 600 people have seen Earth from space. From 250 miles up, you can see the curve of the planet. You see the whole United States in one glance. “When I first looked back at the Earth, I cried,” said astronaut Alan Shepard in 1971. 

    But before you travel into space, there are a few things you should be aware of. The motion of a spacecraft in orbit creates a feeling of weightlessness, which means you float around in the air. Push off a wall too hard and you’ll bounce off the opposite wall like a Ping-Pong ball. To minimize the bumps and bruises common to first-time space travelers, you’ll need to learn how to move around a room while in microgravity.

    In addition, motion in space can make you feel nauseated. About to throw up? Be sure to do it into a bag. Otherwise, small, stinking globs of vomit will hang in the air. Ew.

    Another important thing to remember: Take time to appreciate the view. Fewer than 600 people have seen Earth from space, and many of them say it was a life-changing experience. From 250 miles away, you can see the curve of the planet. You can see the whole United States in one glance, and you don’t see the boundaries between countries. “When I first looked back at the Earth,” recalled astronaut Alan Shepard in 1971, “I cried.”

Courtesy of Orbital Assembly

Watch Out, Lebron!
In a future space hotel, you’d be able to jump 12 feet in the air to dunk a basketball. 

An Expensive Trip

    Space vacations might sound awesome. But will they soon replace the family camping trip? Probably not. It takes billions of dollars to build a spacecraft. And it’ll cost a fortune to travel in one. A few minutes in microgravity on a space plane will probably cost you $250,000. For a week in the space hotel, try $50 million!

    Don’t be too disappointed. Over time, spacecraft will get cheaper to build. The price of space travel will start to come down. Hang in there until you get old. Maybe you’ll be able to afford a retirement home with a really nice view of planet Earth. 

    Space vacations might sound awesome. But they probably won’t replace the family camping trip anytime soon. Building a spacecraft costs billions of dollars. And it’ll cost a fortune to travel in one. A few minutes on a space plane will probably cost you $250,000. For a week in the space hotel, try $50 million!

    Don’t be too disappointed. Over time, spacecraft will get cheaper to build. The price of space travel will go down too. Hang in there until you get old. Maybe you’ll be able to afford a retirement home in space. It will have a nice view of planet Earth! 

    Space vacations might sound awesome, but they probably won’t replace the family camping trip anytime soon. Why not? It takes billions of dollars to build a spacecraft, and it’ll also cost a fortune to travel in one. A few minutes in microgravity on a space plane will probably cost you $250,000. For a week in the space hotel, try $50 million!

    Don’t be too disappointed, though. Spacecraft will eventually become cheaper to build, and the price of space travel will decrease too. Hang in there until you get old. Maybe you’ll be able to afford a retirement home with an excellent view of planet Earth. 

ACTIVITY: 
5 Questions About
Space Travel

What to do: Answer the questions below. Use full sentences.

What to do: Answer the questions below. Use full sentences.

What to do: Answer the questions below. Use full sentences.

Who has most commonly traveled to space in the past? 

Who has most commonly traveled to space in the past? 

Who has most commonly traveled to space in the past? 

What can people do in microgravity? 

What can people do in microgravity? 

What can people do in microgravity? 

When does Orbital Assembly plan to start building its space hotel? 

When does Orbital Assembly plan to start building its space hotel? 

When does Orbital Assembly plan to start building its space hotel? 

Why aren’t space vacations likely to replace family camping trips anytime soon?

Why aren’t space vacations likely to replace family camping trips anytime soon?

Why aren’t space vacations likely to replace family camping trips anytime soon?

How is the price of space travel likely to change over time?

How is the price of space travel likely to change over time?

How is the price of space travel likely to change over time?

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