Journey to space takes just 8 and a half minutes – but it’s a ‘heck of a ride’

Space, the final frontier, isn’t as far away as you may think and even some of our oldest rockets can get there pretty quickly.

The hardest part of any space mission is actually leaving Earth itself.

We have had to build massive rockets to fire us up and away from the ground, producing so much energy trying to escape Earth’s gravity.

The rockets used to do this require massive amounts of fuel.

NASA’s Space Shuttle's large External Tank has more than 500,000 gallons of super-cold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.

To get to space, a rocket needs to travel 62 miles up to what is known as the Karman Line, this is what is generally accepted as the edge of space.

The Hubble Telescope, for example, is parked 340 miles above the Earth.

How long does it take to travel to space?

NASA’s Space Shuttle takes approximately 8 ½ minutes to reach orbit in space, but the amount of time can vary.

Elon Musk’s company SpaceX, which created the most powerful rocket in the world, the Falcon Heavy, crossed the Karmin Line in 3 minutes and 24 seconds.

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This speed can be very uncomfortable for any astronauts brave enough for the trip.

Mike Leinbach, a launch director at NASA describes it, "If you think about it, we're accelerating a 4-1/2 million pound system from zero miles per hour to its orbital velocity of 17,500 miles per hour in those 8-1/2 minutes. So it's a heck of a ride for the astronauts,"

For the rest of us, it will be a long time before we could experience it, but there are plans to get people up there.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has these plans, but the earliest estimates for when we could board a ship are the late 2030s.

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