Growth and Development of Space Tourism Today
Space tourism looks promising for ordinary people in the upcoming future.
Space tourism may seem like it’s from a futuristic sci-fi film, but it’s actually been around for almost two decades. Some can remember Dennis Tito, an American businessman who was the first civilian tourist to explore the International Space Station in 2001. Tito’s journey to space cost him a whopping $20 million, which means that for most of us, travelling to space will remain a fantasy only seen through films and stories. However, it is estimated that the number of visitors will double in the next 12 months.
Simply put, space tourism is the practice of travelling into space for the purpose of recreation. It is also known as citizen space exploration, personal spaceflight, or commercial human spaceflight, and it includes sub-orbital, orbital, and even extra-terrestrial spaceflights.
According to Fast Company, NASA has long been hesitant to play host to space tourists, so, Russia—looking for sources of money post-Cold War in the 1990s and 2000s—has been the only option available for those looking for this kind of extreme adventure. However, it seems the rise of private space companies is going to make it easier for regular people to experience space.
Space tourism has come a long way since the 20-million-dollar trip in 2001, thanks to the development of commercial space companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic. Commercial firms such as these have thrived in the testing and manufacturing of space tourist spacecraft, with costs expected to fall to $200,000 in the immediate future. Predictably, this is still a significant sum of money, but it reduces the expense of tourist space travel to 1% of what it was just under 20 years ago.
Development and Growth of Space Tourism
The NewSpace industry is focusing on space tourism, which is projected to expand to at least $3 billion by 2030. Other private companies, such as Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, are investing in suborbital space tourism to carry Earthlings to the very edge of the universe and back, as companies like SpaceX test reusable rocket technology to make spaceflight more available and affordable for humans. Although space tourism will initially be limited to ultra-wealthy passengers and private researchers, the long term looks promising for ordinary people.
As per report of Fast Company, now, SpaceX is the only option for someone looking to go into space and orbit the Earth. It currently has two tourist launches planned. The first is scheduled for as early as September 2021, funded by billionaire businessman Jared Isaacman. The other trip, planned for 2022, is being organized by Axiom Space. These trips will be costly, at $55 million for the flight and a stay on the International Space Station. The high cost has led some to warn that space tourism, and private access to space more broadly, might reinforce inequality between rich and poor.
Blue Origin’s and Virgin Galactic’s suborbital trips are far more reasonable in cost, with both priced between $200,000 and $250,000. Blue Origin appears to be the nearest to be allowing paying customers on board, saying after a recent launch that crewed missions would be happening “soon.” Virgin Galactic continues to test SpaceShipTwo, but no specific timetable has been announced for tourist flights.