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Grade Levels: Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, 10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade,
Synopsis: Whether you’re talking about privately owned and operated rockets to ferry cargo to low earth orbit, or the customers already in line for the opportunity to weightlessly gaze upon Earth from outer space, the “personal space flight revolution” will bring a...
Running Time: 11:56 minutes
Critical Thinking:

Critical thinkers don’t just absorb information; they ask questions to help them evaluate that information.

The men and women who are leading the way to our future in space, such as those in this Futures Channel Movie, are searching for answers to some big questions. For them, the search for answers is part of their job–perhaps the part that makes their jobs so exciting.

Even if it’s not your job (yet!), you can experience some of that same excitement by thinking about the same questions—or by thinking up questions of your own. Try this:

1)Choose a question from those below that interests you (or, if you’re a teacher, choose a question related to your curriculum, and assign the steps 2-4 as a research paper or extra-credit project).

2)Write down some answers to the question. They don’t have to be right answers, just whatever you can think of that could be answers (watching the “Spaceports” movie again might help).

3)Use the links given below each question to find out more. For example: What are people doing to find answers? How do their answers compare to yours? What are some other questions whose answers would help in the search for answers to the main questions?

4)Tell us what you found out. We’ll send your responses, as appropriate, to the people who are featured in the Spaceports movie. Who knows, you might have an answer – or a question – that no one else has thought of! Send your response to

Spaceport Questions


What are the advantages to launching a spacecraft from an airplane? If it’s such a good idea, why don’t we do it with all spacecraft?


How SpaceShipOne Works


Launching a Rocket from an Airplane


This map (Twenty Largest Cities) shows that most of the biggest cities in the world are port cities. This is largely because of the goods and people that move in and out of the country through these ports. What could lead people to want to travel into space? 


What is Space Tourism?


All About Space Tourism


Progress Touted In Private Space Travel


How Space Tourism Works


Tourism in Low Earth Orbit: The Trigger for Commercial Lunar Development?


If you just want to see the earth from space, you need a spacecraft that will carry you out of the atmosphere for a short time. If you want to stay in space for a while, you will need to go into a low or high orbit—and you will need more supplies and equipment. If you want to go to the moon, you will need to escape the earth’s gravity almost completely. What do engineers have to think about to design rockets and spacecraft for these different purposes?


Commercial Space Topics: Frequently Asked Questions


Booster Basics