Presentation #242.07 in the session Education Programs, Resources, and Research — iPoster Session.
Beginning with the space race of the 1960s, humans have always wondered what it’s like to be in space. Today, various companies have developed new technologies with the purpose of tourism in mind. For this project, the team explored the design of a suborbital, eco-friendly, and reusable spaceship. The research was concentrated on studying which would be the best materials for designing a spaceship with the least environmental impact. Compare and contrast methods were used to choose metals, fuels, energy sources, systems, thrusters, rockets, and many other components. As part of the design, the needs of the potential customers were considered by researching entertainment, training, food, health, and safety options. This spaceship will follow a similar design to SpaceX’s Starship since it could serve the purpose of suborbital flight while still being economical, reusable, and safe. It was determined that the spaceship should be built with 304L stainless steel, thanks to its durability in high temperatures, aerodynamics, and low costs. The design consists of a 50m tall structure that is divided into two stages, being the first stage, the booster, and the second stage what is called the Asteria. The design includes scenic access through selected window locations in residential areas. The interior of the spacecraft is divided into four main areas: the cockpit, the takeoff area, the rooms, and the hallway. Asteria contains eight curved rooms with a total capacity of sixteen tourists. Each room will have a digital display showcasing the necessary information to keep the passengers always updated on the ship’s trajectory. This suborbital flight will reach the LEO (Low-Earth Orbit), somewhere between, with a parabolic route with an estimated flight of 24 hours. Several methods that are used in the International Space Station to accommodate the needs of the astronauts are to be replicated in Asteria. It was also determined that the customers of this suborbital spaceflight will need to undergo special training before going on their trip. Space tourism is a concept that has slowly become a bigger possibility in recent years, however, only for a specific economic class. With this research, the team aims to understand the possibility of making space exploration through space tourism a possibility for the population in general.