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Five Reasons Why Space Tourism is Closer Than You Think

by Katie Sorene

Orbiting off into space for your summer vacation might seem light years ahead, but mainstream space tourism could be with us a lot sooner than you might realize.

Frankly, the thought of traveling into space terrifies me.

But I totally get why many people would readily give their right arm for the chance to explore the endless mass of nothingness that is space.

The crazy thing is that what was once the stuff of science fiction is actually here!

We could all be vacationing in space a lot sooner than you might think. Here are five reasons why:

Earth

1. “Space Tourism” is not new. Dennis Tito was the world’s first space tourist, traveling with Space Adventures way back in 2001. Not exactly a budget break, costing him the tidy sum of $20 million.

2. Virgin Galactic already have 250 aspiring “cosmonauts” signed up for suborbital flights aboard the VG SpaceShipTwo. Tickets are priced at $200,000 but are eventually expected to fall to $20,000.

Branson also plans on hurtling space adventurers through the Aurora Borealis (Northen Lights) in Sweden. Phenomenal!

3. Several companies, including Hilton International, have expressed an interest in “space hotels”. The Space Island Group aims to have 20,000 people on their “space island” by 2020.

4. Demand is high, with over 70% of respondents in a web survey affirming that they’re keen on the idea of vacationing in space.

5. Even the Oxford Dictionary is considering adding the word “touronaut” as a new term to describe private space adventurers.

Northern Lights

Economic Obstacles

Virgin Galactic aims to have completed their SpaceShipTwo test flight program by the end of this year. But will Branson’s inter-galactic plans be thwarted by a small matter of the global recession?

Amanda Kendle makes this point in her Kathika article: “Is Space Tourism Taking a Rest?”

The Only Question is When

Personally, I think there will always be people willing to pay the premium for space exploration even in the bleakest economic crisis.

To sum up, I’m going to quote Charles Simonyi, the fifth “touronaut” to travel to space in 2007.

When asked, “Do you foresee a day when space tourism is not just the province of billionaires – when it will be as affordable as plane travel?”

“Yes,” he replied “the only question is when…”

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo


Will you be queuing up for a place on Virgin’s space vessel? Is affordable space tourism really upon us? Post up your comments, we want to hear from you!

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For a simulated suborbital flight experience, check out this cool video from Virgin Galactic. It might be the nearest you get to space for a very long time!

Photos from Flickr. Credits (in order of placement): Earth by woodleywonderworks, Northern Lights by BL1961, Virgin SpaceShipTwo by Martin.

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6 comments… read them below or Add a Comment

Jeffrey

Great read. I had no idea space tourism was so close.
I wonder if there will be high and low tourist seasons in space and what will they depend on?

coollioluke

hope the prices fall sooner rather than later. a bit steep for my budget right now but traveling in space is a big dream.

Keith

I would love to go into space and see the Earth from above. That would be mind-blowing x 1,000,000!! Looking at the current prices, I’d have to strike the lottery first! I agree with coollioluke… I hope the prices fall sooner than later!

International phone cards

Crazy fun! The big question: How much is it going to cost. If you can bring the price down to, say, the price of a international cruise, or at least twice as much, then may be … Projected $20,000 sounds about right.

B. Owen

Will the future enable people to jet set across the world aboard spacecraft instead of airplanes? The possibilities associated with space tourism seem realistic for individuals to go into space. Sub orbit space rides could become the newest fad. New advances in technology will provide new jobs and services. It could have positive effects on American economics. Hypersonic aircraft could provide point to point cargo delivery. Universities, scientists, and businesses will have the capability of launching more satellites into space. Knowledge will increase. University training will increase as new technologies are developed in a wide variety of scientific fields, such as earth sciences, medical and physics. Technological advancements will create a demand for a rapid flight turnaround which could lower costs. We already have the technology for man to live in space. Perhaps someday trips to the moon and mars will be commonplace. Private industry will provide the access for man to go out into space and explore. We are on the verge of something new and exciting. Space travel will change the way we view ourselves and the world around us.

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