For the most affluent adventure seekers who have probably already explored the whole world, leisure travel might now go beyond the planet itself. Space is a vast domain that has long been exclusive and accessible only to astronauts. But today, with space tourism on the rise, people might now get the chance to see the universe with their own two eyes!
Where are We Now in Space Tourism?
The concept of Space Tourism may feel like it only belongs to futuristic sci-fi flicks. But the truth is that this is an idea that has been around for over two decades now.
Some of you might have heard of Dennis Tito, an American businessman who became the first-ever civilian tourist who was given the chance in 2001 to visit the International Space.
This space travel of Tito reportedly cost him a mind-blowing 20 million dollars. With these figures alone, it is easy to see that traveling to space would probably just literally and figuratively remain as an out-of-this-world dream that most people will only be able to see and experience through stories and movies.
However, with the rise of commercial space companies such as Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, and SpaceX, it is safe to say that space tourism has already come a long, long way from the 2001 trip that cost 20 million dollars.
These said commercial companies have outshone not only in testing but also in producing space tourist vehicles, potentially dropping the estimated costs to only $200,000 in the not-so-distant future. While this remains to be a massive amount of money for average people, it puts the current price of tourist space travel at 1% of what it was 20 years ago.
Two Types of Private Spaceflight
Those who are lucky enough to afford a space flight can choose from two different types, namely orbital and suborbital, both of which offer vastly different experiences and price tags.
- Orbital Spaceflight
Orbital spaceflight gives passengers the chance to spend several days in space up to more than a week at an altitude of more than 1.3 million feet. Orbital spaceflight tourists also had it huge during the last quarter of 2021 when Axiom Space and Space Adventures, two major companies, announced up to 9 seats to orbit available for purchase by organizations and individuals alike.
- Suborbital Spaceflight
The main objective of suborbital spaceflight is to reach an altitude of more than 300,000 feet, getting to the Karman line that serves as the benchmark for defining the boundary of outer space. There are currently two major rival players in this field
The first one is Blue Origin run by Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon. The second one is Virgin Galactic, which is part of the massive empire of Richard Branson. The systems of these two companies are both rocket-powered with enough room to accommodate a maximum of six passengers per flight.
Without a doubt, space tourism is finally here. The cost may still be not as affordable as your regular air flights but who knows? Things may soon become easier on the pocket even for ordinary folks!
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