Space Tourism – Commercializing The New Frontier
Private Trips To Space
Throughout history becoming an astronaut or space explorer has been a dream, for not just millions of children, but adults too and it’s closer than ever with the advent of Space Tourism! Whether its sub-orbital, orbital or lunar space tourism, private companies such as Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and SpaceX are working to make space accessible. Eight private orbital flights to the International Space Station were made between 2001 & 2009.
To Space, The Moon And Beyond!
The Space Age really began in 1961 when the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin completed the first successful spaceflight, but over 55 years later going to space is still rare (fewer than 550 people have been to space!) and still requires riding a countries spacecraft!
There have been seven lucky, and wealthy, people that have managed to make private spaceflights to the International Space Station between 2001 and 2009 through the Russian Space Agency, but each flight cost between $20 - $40 million USD!
The rise of commercial spaceflight service companies like Space Adventures, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and SpaceX aims to make the final frontier more accessible to experience the thrill of sub-orbital, orbital spaceflight possibly even private missions to the Moon! Initially, the ticket prices will still be ‘astronomical’ (around $250,000 USD for short sub-orbital flights), and well beyond the reach of regular people, but with time the companies aim to lower the cost to make space tourism more affordable.
The market for space tourism is in its infancy and will likely begin to take off in 2018 – 2020 as these private companies finally begin to launch fare-paying tourists on the ‘long-promised’ trips into space. Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin both intend to initially offer sub-orbital jaunts above 100 km (the officially recognized boundary of outer space) which will allow passengers to enjoy about 5 minutes of weightlessness and spectacular views.
While SpaceX and Space Adventures both plan to send paying passengers around the Moon on missions similar to Apollo 8’s historic mission to the Moon 50 years earlier. SpaceX even has grander space tourism plans; to eventually start sending people to Mars by 2026!
These certainly are exciting times for the commercialization of space and for space tourism!