Often referred to as commercial spaceflight for humans, flying to space is a dream that almost every super wealthy individual will be able to realize in the next few years. Till now, it was only RSA (Russian Space Agency) that used to offer such space tourism services in the early 2000’s at a cost of around $ 200 million per trip. However, they stopped such commercial space tourism back in 2010.
In recent years, there are some space tourism companies which are going all out to make it the new travel frontier for the wealthy of the world, once again. NASA made an announcement last year that starting 2020 there will open up International Space Station for space tourism. Piloted by Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, civilians will be able to get the space experience at a reasonable cost. Five companies which are leading in this space are detailed below:
A Sir Richard Branson company, Virgin Galactic is a space tourism company which is part of Branson’s Virgin Group. It will focus on providing regular suborbital space flights to people who can make a baseline deposit of around C$ 340,000 to get themselves on the waiting list. It tested VSS Unity, a spaceplane couple of years ago to make sure that it can indeed live up to its promises. However, the loss of its earlier spaceplane named VSS Enterprise and multiple delays were a major setback for the company in the year 2014.
An Elon musk company, SpaceX is another prominent organisation in the race to take the general populace on space tourism journeys. The company which is experienced in the launch of space flights, is currently focused on travel beyond the Earth’s orbit and lunar tourism. The latest is that they want to build a private SpaceX village with around 100 rooms. Just like Virgin Galactic, SpaceX also faced multiple setbacks and hasn’t been able to make commercial human spaceflight possible for itself so far. Musk had promised in 2017 to send at least two clients to the moon, but that didn’t happen in 2017 or 18. No information is available on further launch dates and prices.
Another US company, Orion Span is focused on flying its clients to their own commercial space station called the Aurora Space Station. Being private astronauts, the clients are allowed to buy tickets and fly in the lower orbit of the Earth. The space station will also play the role of a space hotel, accommodating up to 6 tourists at a cost of C$ 11.8 million. They are still in the planning stage, however, have sold a large number of reservations. Aurora Space Station is scheduled to be opened for tourists by 2022.
An initiative of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, Blue Origin is the main competitor of Virgin Galactic when it comes to suborbital commercial space travel. They have their own reusable rocket, good enough to take off and land in vertical position, capable of easily carrying clients in the space.
Last but not the least, Boeing, which is already a big name in the commercial airlines, has partnered with NASA for commercial space travel too.