How can an Indian go to space for just .50?

How can an Indian go to space for just $2.50?

File photo of a New Shepard rocket taking off from the Blue Origin base near Van Horn, Texas, US, on May 19, 2024.

A file photo of a New Shepard rocket taking off from the Blue Origin base near Van Horn, Texas, US, on May 19, 2024. | Photo credit: Blue Origin

The US-based Space Exploration and Research Agency (SERA) in collaboration with Jeff Bezos-funded Blue Origin has announced India as a partner nation in its human spaceflight programme. This programme is for citizens of countries that have sent very few or no astronauts to space.

On July 1, SERA announced it would offer six seats to citizens around the world on future missions of New Shepard, Blue Origin’s reusable suborbital rocket.

New Shepard will take selected astronauts on an 11-minute journey beyond the Kármán line (100 km), the internationally recognized boundary of space. The astronauts will experience weightlessness for several minutes before descending in a controlled manner back to the landing pad.

“We are excited to have India as part of our human spaceflight program. India has made remarkable achievements in its space travel over the past few years, including becoming the first country to reach the south pole of the moon. We want to make space accessible to everyone, and we are happy to offer this unique opportunity to any Indian citizen who wants to experience the wonders of space travel,” said Joshua Skurla, co-founder of SERA.

Who can register for space flight?

Any Indian citizen can register for the event by paying a fee of ~$2.50, to cover the cost of verification checks to ensure a secure and fair vote. The final candidate will be voted on by the public for a chance to go to space aboard the New Shepard mission.

Joshua Skurla said, “Our mission is to democratize space by enabling citizens from over 150 countries with limited access to space to participate in groundbreaking research and make history. We aim to empower people globally to have a voice and stake in the future of space exploration.”

Voting process for who will get a seat on New Shepherd

SERA said potential astronauts must meet physical requirements set by Blue Origin. They can receive votes by telling their story to the public using their mission profile page, social media and other resources. Voting will proceed through three stages of elimination of candidates. Except for the sixth global seat, the public will only vote for candidates from their country or region.

“By giving communities the power to choose their astronauts, we ensure this mission is driven by the people, for the people. This approach will ignite national conversations on space and promote international collaboration in space exploration. The minimum physical requirements and training to fly New Shepard lower the barrier to entry, allowing for more diverse and inclusive participation in space,” said SERA co-founder Sam Hutchison.

The six people selected for the mission will arrive at Blue Origin's launch site in West Texas, US, for training three days before the flight.

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