The first tourist in space was Dennis Tito, a 60-year-old American businessman, who left the Earth surface on April 28, 2001. He lived most of is 8 days-trip on the International Space Station (ISS). And he paid $20 million dollars for his trip.
Until this year, there have been six more space tourists that traveled to the ISS aboard a Soyuz. And that’s not over. A lot of private companies intend to launch space programs for tourists. They’re now testing their ships and are preparing to launch their clients into space.
Let’s see which companies are willing to take us up in the sky, all for a big price, of course!
Orion Span – building a luxury space hotel: Aurora Station
At the beginning of April, Orion Span announced they will start constructing a station in space, in 2021. It will have two private suites, and can accommodate four guests and two crew. Before the trip, clients will get a 24-month training program to prepare for the visit in space. There will be a 12-day mission at a cost of $9.5 million per person – which is less expensive than the $20-$50 million price to stay aboard the ISS. Aurora Station plans to sell space condos for those that want to live in space.
Virgin Galactic – the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft
Sir Richard Branson founded Virgin Galactic in 2004 and has a SpaceShipTwo spacecraft that will take tourists aboard to fly under the orbit of the earth. They plan to take the tourists up, at a distance of 330,000 feet. The flight will only last for a few minutes, in exchange for $250,000. Passengers will not need too much training for it. Until 2017, there have been 650 tickets sold for the trip.
In the late 2018 or 2019, Blue Origin wants to launch passengers in a capsule on top of a rocket through the New Shepard program. The missions will last for 11 minutes and passengers will need a day of training – like mission simulations, safety briefing, overviews. The tickets haven’t yet been released, but they will cost a few hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Space Adventures are the ones that have launched all first seven space tourists, but it cannot yet send another guest to the ISS since 2009, as there are capacity issues. But they promise a trip around the moon and a stay at the ISS in the future, by partnering with Roscosmos by using Soyuz.
Even though they partnered with Space Adventures, Roscosmos have also released their own program. The Russian agency is planning to build a luxury space hotel module for the ISS. Guests at the hotel will have private living quarters with 4 bedrooms. There will also be a hygiene and medical facility and a lounge. Tourists will pay from $40 million for 1-2 weeks or $60 million for a month pf stay. The space hotel is planned to launch by 2022, but with the ISS scheduled to retire in 2028, the hotel might have a short life…
And if five companies for space tourism are not enough, then you should also check out KosmoKurs, SpaceX and Axiom Space
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca