With an increasing cadence, humans from multiple nations are rocketing into Earth orbit, and soon outward to the moon. Given added commercial as well as government flights, chances are also soaring of a stranded crew desperately requiring an in-space rescue.

A new report flags the fact that the United States government and commercial spaceflight providers have no plans in place to conduct a timely rescue of a crew from a distressed spacecraft in low Earth orbit, or anywhere else in space. Without orchestrated rescue planning, today’s space travelers will journey at their own risk.

Inspiration4 space travelers.
Credit: SpaceX

Space tourism

For example, this week’s Inspiration4 is the world’s first all-civilian trek into orbit. The mission has four private citizens who will reside onboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for a three-day, Earth-circling jaunt.

Then there’s the dearMoon project – a lunar tourism mission and art project conceived and financed by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. It will make use of a SpaceX Starship on a private spaceflight flying a single circumlunar trajectory around the Moon. This week-long journey of Maezawa and crewmates is expected to occur no earlier than 2023.

To read my new SPACE.com story “Humanity needs a space-rescue capability, report stresses” go to:


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