How long does it take to get to space?
Short answer: A few minutes.
Long answer: The semi-official "start of space" is 100 km above sea level. This is called the Kármán line. Most rockets get to this point within a few minutes of launch, but it takes longer to reach their final orbit (or other destination). The exact timing depends on the rocket and other factors. Here are a couple of examples:
- Space Shuttle: Kármán line in 2½ minutes, orbit in 8½ minutes.
- SpaceX Falcon Heavy: Kármán line in 3½ minutes.
- It can take anywhere from 6 hours to 3 days to get to the International Space Station, depending on the spacecraft and mission profile.
- It took the Apollo astronauts about three days to get to the Moon. Although the Moon is much farther away than the ISS, the Apollo spacecraft travelled more directly and quickly.