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Space Adventures, a private company that has sent well-heeled tourists into space, announced Monday that it is partnering with a Singapore-based consortium to build a space station in the small island nation. The commercial spaceport will offer suborbital spaceflights, as well as operate astronaut training facilities and an educational visiting center for the public.
Several companies are making plans to send individuals into space. Virgin Galactic, for one, has said tickets for its suborbital spaceflights will cost roughly $200,000, and the company already has a long waiting list of eager customers. But these vacations aren't as simple as packing the family into the minivan for a trip to Disneyland. While suborbital trips don't take as much intense training, Space Adventures passengers who want to go into orbit will first have to undergo some extreme tests during the company's Orbital Pre-Qualification program to prepare for their flight. This centrifuge simulates re-entry into Earth's atmosphere and gives space tourists an understanding of the forces they will experience during a Soyuz rocket launch until they reach the orbit of the International Space Station (ISS).
Would-be space travelers will be tested for medical and physical ability. The training program prepares them for the entire trip, from launch to landing. Part of the program includes a simulated water landing.