Trainings and space-related travels
There are already several companies that offer touristic space activities. Several companies offer trips to the ESA Astronaut Training Center in Cologne/Germany or Star City near Moscow, where one can take part in different cosmonaut training sessions, starting from underwater training, parabolic flights (also see What is parabolic flight?) and simulated spacewalks in the underwater training facility to a complete cosmonaut training - assuming you got a well filled purse. In the US commercial parabolic flights are offered, in Europe offers are soon to follow. In the moment in Europe only zero-g flights with a glider and of short duration are offered by the Austrian Parabelteam (german).
In the meantime it is possible to marry in zero-g. Erin Finnegan and Noah Fulmor are the first couple to take that step.
Noah and Erin in front of the zero-g aircraft
The wedding dress is a model specially designed for zero-g.
The couple in weightlessness
Further information and videos of the wedding can be found on the specially designed homepage of the couple: ZeroGravityWedding.com.
Tourist flights to the ISS can be booked, Tickets for suborbital flights, e.g. with Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip2, are being sold. Within some years regular commercial flights to orbit are planned as well as flights round the Moon. Later hotels in orbit are to be built, in the distant future probably also on the Moon. Tests for the construction of a commercial space station are already under way: Some test modules of Bigelow Aerospace successfully are orbiting the Earth for several years now, even if unmanned.
The magic of zero-g
Weightlessness offers a lot of possibilities for new leisure activities. One can for example relax in the zero-g state, or invent new sports, or just discover new ways of locomotion.
Weightlessness yet means nothing else than that man's everlasting dream of flight, of really floating freely, has come true.
Here are some links for further information:
What is parabolic flight?
European Space Tourist (german)
also see: My zero-g flight with European Space Tourist
Austrian Parabelteam (german)
Zero Gravity Corp.
The future of space tourism
Anousheh Ansari, the first private space explorer
Flying feels soo good...
Here I want to give you some quotations from astronauts and other people who have already experienced zero gravity for themselves.
Sally Ride: "The best of space is zero-g."
John Glenn: "I experienced the zero gravity as extremely pleasant. I must say that it is really comfortable for a space pilot... The fact that one experiences this phenomenon as so natural up there proves how fast humans can adapt to a new environment. I am sure I could have spent much more time in the weightless state without being bothered by it. One feels completely free. This state is indeed so pleasant that we said jokingly that humans could become addicted to it. I at least could."
(from "We seven")
Don Lind: "Oh, it was wonderful. The real delight, as soon as the space adaptation syndrome was over. It is a mobility like in the world of Peter Pan. Absolutely marvellous."
(from "The Overview-Effekt" from Frank White)
a flight surgeon from the German Space Agency: "I have rarely or never felt better than during the zero-g parts of the parabolic flights..."
Dennis Tito after his return from the ISS: "I just came back from paradise."
Klaus-Dietrich Flade: "Weightlessness is really wonderful- like a fish in the water."
Louie Arguello: "Wow! Floating humans; incredible feeling!"
Alan Gertonson: "That was totally and completely awesome. It was the BEST time I have ever had. It was the most cool feeling in the world; you have all this weight on your body and all of a sudden there is nothing and you are floating towards the ceiling."
Jed Brich: "Pretty awesome! Definitely the most amazing experience I've had thus far. I'm ready to go to space."
a participant in the ESA student campaign: "I wrote that this will be the try to describe weightlessness. But more than a try will not be possible, because you can't compare it with diving or riding a carousel.
Personally I have experienced it as the complete freedom. We got detailed instructions about what will happen during the flight before and were aware of all the physical procedures. But you can't be prepared! You know that you then will float, but you will do it for real! You are totally surprised when you experience this for the first time.
We were well secured on the floor by straps over the legs so we didn't float off without orientation, but nevertheless you just go up, twist out of the straps and you can't arrange anything with your sense of balance. There is no up, down, left or right any more.
You can't move as usual, the slightest touch on the wall leads to a recoil which is not slowed down by anything. When you float in one direction, you can't change it unless you have the possibility to give yourself another movement impulse or to hold on to something.
Weightlessness is a simply ingenious, completely overwhelming, because so unknown free feeling."
the ESA flight surgeon on the SPFC 2002: "I wish, I could fly more often. For me, it's like holidays."
Frederic Artner:"As a space enthusiast on Feb. 1st 03 I participated in a parabolic mission (Pauls Parabelfluege) in Trencin. It is a wonderful feeling to be freed from Earth's gravity! I am already saving for a 2nd mission!"
Thomas Hietschold from Germany (Leer, July 23rd 2004): How the MDR brought me to the edge of space (german).
And here is my own experience.