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:
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.
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…”
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!
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!