Space exploration is entering a new era. Bolstered by private interests, individuals can now even take a tour of space. Billionaires and founders of space companies like Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson recently flew into space, even if the latter's flight became a bit controversial.
Santhosh George Kulangara is excited as he could be among the first space tourists to fly into space aboard Branson's Virgin Galactic. And if that happens, the Kerala-based media entrepreneur could also become India's first space tourist.
Kulangara has waited a long time for his chance to go into space. He was selected to be flown into space by Virgin Galactic way back in 2007. Virgin is yet to confirm when he will be taken to space. But the 49-year-old is expecting that it will happen soon especially after Bezos and Branson’s space trips last month.
Kulangara will be paying Rs 1.8 crore for a quick trip into space, besides training costs and other expenses. Isn’t it a bit too expensive?
“It’s not a huge amount. It’s all about one’s perspective. It might seem like a huge amount. But worth it for the experience and the historical significance,” he told The Indian Express.
After finishing his post-graduation in journalism and mass communication from Madurai Kamaraj University, Kulangara established the Labour India Publications, a publishing house providing journals and magazines. In 1997, Kulangara started his first solo travel journeys, which were documented in Sancharam and broadcast on Asianet initially. Kulangara is also a "part-time expert member" of the Kerala State Planning Board.
During his career spanning almost two decades, the founder and "chief explorer" at Safari TV -- a TV channel dedicated to the exploration and travel through the world-- has travelled to over 130 countries across seven continents.
He's also made a full-length English feature film on Chandrayaan-1, eponymously named Chandrayaan. The movie portrayed behind the scenes actions into India's first successful lunar mission.
He said that space travel is just the start of a new era for commercial space colonisation. "Space tourism is purely a futuristic business. This can become the next big thing for humans," he told the Indian Express.
"Like that, space tourism is an investment for the future. We should think about a future when the resources on planet earth are no more enough to sustain all the human beings here. If there is a company experienced in travelling to space and other planets and capable of doing explorations, wouldn’t they stand to benefit from that situation? I foresee colonisation of other planets and initiatives such as space tourism are just means to that end," he added.
(Edited by : Aditi Gautam)