The Essential Guide to What a Private Astronaut Can Do In Space

So you’re thinking about going into space and you’re wondering what you will, or could, do when you get there? Well you’ve come to the right place, this article will break down the potential activities you could engage in during suborbital and orbital flights. However, based on which type of flight you take, your options will be constrained. Suborbital flights will provide you with about 3 to 4 minutes of zero gravity – giving a very limited time in which to engage in unique activities. Orbital flights offer significantly more time from days to weeks.

Many of the following activities come from the experiences of the over 500 astronauts who have traveled into space, and others not so much…

Traditional activities

Experience the view

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Take in the view of the curvature of the earth, the blackness of space, and the breathtaking view of the earth surface far below you. Watch sunrises and sunsets every 45 minutes.

Many astronauts speak highly of the view and mention this as one of their favorite things to do while in orbit.

Capture and share the experience 

Take candid photographs of the earth, your environment and fellow travelers to authentically capture the experience that you can use as the basis for a book when you return to earth.

Keep a written journal of your experiences to form the basis of a book.

Keep a video journal and post it to YouTube.

Use social media, email or call to keep in touch with friends and family.

Bring some souvenirs with you to give as gifts to your friends and family when you return e.g. custom made challenge coin, flag, mission patch.

Participate in a media event from space. The media event can be a one-way communication where you might talk about your experiences so far. The media event can also be a two way interaction where you take questions from people on the ground.

Learn how to live in space

Living in space is not the same as living on earth. The lack of gravity means that every day activities we take for granted need to be re-learned –

Exercise

Sleep

Go to the bathroom

Shave

Brush your teeth

Wash up

Prepare food and eat

Drink

Get a haircut

Shampoo your hair

Cut your fingernails

Experience space motion sickness

Learn how to move around zero gravity

Learn how to weigh yourself

Get to know your way around the ISS

Play and relax

Honor your religious faith, e.g. during Apollo 11, Buzz Aldrin took holy communion when he was on the moon and Apollo 8 astronauts read from the book of Genesis as they orbited the moon.

Get to know your fellow space travelers.

Read a book.

Try crying.

Practice Tai Chi.

Play a sport, e.g. badminton, soccer, darts, synchronized space dancing, no-handball, sharpshooting, lack-of-floor-routine, baseball, gymnastics, football, frisbee, boomerang, golf, tennis, ping-pong, skipping rope.

Play with some toys, e.g. wind up airplane, paper airplane, fidget spinner.

Experiment with doing yo-yo tricks.

Watch a movie and chill.

Play a game, e.g. chess, checkers, cards, the looney pyramids, scrabble.

Educate and motivate others

Participate in STEM educational videos, or video calls with schools and their students, e.g. story time.

Use the amateur radio system on ISS to communicate with students around the world to inspire them to pursue interests and careers in STEM.

Host an art exhibition displaying paintings from children on Earth.

Create a public service announcement video for a worthy cause.

Post messages, videos and photos to social media.

Live appearance on a TV show.

Celebrate a birthday, wish somebody back on earth happy birthday!

Host an Ask Me Anything live session on Reddit.

Show people what you brought in your luggage to the space station.

Exercise your creativity

Invent a new zero gravity game.

Make a movie or documentary for one of the major broadcast networks or streaming services.

Decorate the space station for the holidays.

Contribute to Art – to inspire, celebrate and showcase space exploration – create a work of art (e.g. drawing, painting) that evokes the emotional experience and captures the magic that photographs cannot.

Play music using an instrument, or sing a song, video record and post it to YouTube.

Write a poem and read it from space.

Set a Guinness World Record, find something unique that you can be the first person to do in space.

Star in a reality TV show for one of the major broadcast networks or streaming services.

Contribute to scientific knowledge

Participate in human physiology studies investigating the effects of microgravity on the human body.

Perform scientific experiments sponsored by universities or commercial entities.

Nontraditional

Produce the first porn film made in zero gravity. 

Define a scientific experiment to execute in space and write a paper that will win an Ig Nobel prize, for example explore the use of flatulence as a means of propulsion in a zero gravity environment.

Take photographs suitable for art galleries, e.g. fine-art, portrait, conceptual, abstract.

Host a fashion show from the world’s leading clothing designers showcasing designs made exclusivity for zero gravity.

Do a commercial advertisement or endorsement.