Three is the lucky number of civilians that will get the chance to visit the International Space Station, SpaceX announced. The price hasn’t been named yet, but speculations say each ticket is likely to cost tens of millions of dollars.
SpaceX and space tourism
In the second half of 2021, a Crew Dragon capsule will take civilians rich enough to afford the trip the farthest in space any other civilian has been. And there have been eight of them. But it’s been more than a decade since space tourism has been put aside by SpaceX. The last to get into space was Guy Laliberte, the founder of Cirque du Soleil, back in 2009.
SpaceX won’t do it alone. It signed a deal with Axiom Space, Inc. It is a private US space station manufacturer and service provider based in Houston, Texas, that plans to construct and operate the world’s first international commercial space station. It was established in 2016 by Michael T. Suffredini and Kam Ghaffarian.
This comes after SpaceX announced last month that four tourists would get to go to space and signed a deal with Space Adventures, Inc. This is an American space tourism company founded in 1998 by Eric C. Anderson. Its offerings include zero-gravity atmospheric flights, orbital spaceflights (with the option to participate in a spacewalk), and other spaceflight-related experiences, including cosmonaut training, spacewalk training, and launch tours.
Seven of its clients have participated in the orbital spaceflight program with Space Adventures, including one who took two separate trips to space. The deal between SpaceX and Space Adventures This is projected for late 2021, but more likely 2022.
Other options besides SpaceX
If your wishes don’t go too far, and you can be satisfied with going just beyond the border of space (80 kilometers or 100 kilometers), there are cheaper options for traveling. Companies such as Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, LLC.
On 13 December 2018, Virgin Galactic its first suborbital space flight, reaching an altitude of 82.7 kilometers, officially entering outer space by US standards. The project carried a third person as a passenger in February 2019, when a member of the team sat and floated within the cabin during a flight that reached 89.9 kilometers. Tickets for Virgin started at $250,000.
Blue Origin, LLC is developing technologies to enable private human access to space, to dramatically lower costs, and to increase reliability. But Blue Origin had yet to fly commercial passengers on the rocket. On December 11, 2019, the company completed its twelfth test flight of the rocket.
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