Top Space Tourism Companies That Will Take You Into Space
“That's one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.” -Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11
One Small Step
Ever since Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, he opened a new horizon for the humans. After land, sea and air, the humankind had entered a new realm, a new age and a new dimension of space exploration.
This new dimension brought the world into a new kind of race to the space. Satellites, rockets, missiles and defence systems were sent beyond into the space to dominate the extra-terrestrial zone. US, Russia and China seem to be dominating the space industry with US leading the race with companies like NASA and SpaceX.
What is Space Tourism?
Besides the military applications of space, a new term has been coined in the 21st century, ‘space tourism’. Space tourism refers to exploration of space for frivolous purposes. These space flights could be personal, commercial or solely for business purposes and will tend to carry passengers or ‘tourists’ into the sub-orbital, orbital or even beyond the orbit of the earth.
Whereas the notion of space tourism may appear futuristic, it really has a long tradition. Nevertheless, the Russian Space Agency is now the only firm that has effectively supported orbital space transportation. This largely occurred in the earlier 2000s, when seven space travellers were sent into orbit. In 2010, the Russian Space Agency discontinued its commercial spaceflight activities. Ever since, a variety of space tourism companies have begun to seek space flight, culminating in a variety of ideas in this field.
Space Tourism Companies
The space race is now at its peak with multiple space tourism companies competing to be the first to send an effective spaceflight in the orbit or even beyond. These space tourism companies will take private astronauts in space but for a price, of course. If you wish to be one of those people to experience the once-unthinkable and once-unimaginable journey, then be sure to register with one of these leading space tourism companies.
It will be a mistake to not recognise the behemoth in space industry, Elon Musk’s Space X. Space X is one of the leading space exploration company that is currently working on lunar exploration, meaning that Space X will carry space tourists beyond the orbit of the Earth and up onto the Moon. It was in 2017 that a plan to take two paid clients on an initial lunar travel journey orbiting the moon was announced. The expedition was originally scheduled for 2018, but has since been postponed. SpaceX has yet to announce a valuation plan or a waitlist for lunar missions.
According to Business Insider, the estimated cost for a trip in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule will cost about $55 million per head.
When it comes to sub-orbital space tourism, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin tops this list, second only to Virgin Galactic. Blue Origin is working on newer kind of a rocket known as the ‘New Shepard’ that will take off from the earth in a vertical position, thereby, facilitating orbital space tourism. In May of 2019, Jeff Bezos presented Blue Origin's strategy for future, as well as designs for a lunar lander branded as "Blue Moon," which is scheduled to launch in 2024. Blue Origin launched first ever manned voyage into space on July 20, 2021, using their New Shepard rocket and propulsion technology. Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos was among the four-person team, which also included his sibling Mark Bezos, Wally Funk, and Oliver Daemen.
The only price estimate for Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is when on its first flight it held a public auction for a seat that went up to $28 million per head. However, it can be expected to go as high as $100 million.
Richard Branson created Virgin Galactic in 2004 and it is a subsidiary of the Virgin Group. It is a space tourism company that hopes to give visitors actual space trips in the nearest future. Virgin Galactic is largely considered as the leader in the "space tourism marathon," having launched one of their space aircraft into orbit in 2018. Virgin Galactic masters in sub-orbital space tourism companies with its spacecrafts like VSS Unity already being entered in the outer space. Virgin Galactic has a long waiting list of space enthusiasts and space adventurers who wish to travel into the outer space.
If you wish to secure your name in the waiting list, the initial deposits go up to £200,000.
A major player of the aviation industry, Boeing is all set to move its operations from an aerial platform to space. The emergence of Boeing as a major player in space tourism industry came into effect after signing a Commercial Crew Development program agreement with NASA that facilitated the private sector companies to manufacture crew vehicles to be launched into space. As part of the deal, Boeing began construction on a launch vehicle known as the Boeing CST-100 Starliner. Importantly, the firm's deal with NASA allows them to offer tickets to space travellers, with the goal of having at least one space passenger engage in each subsequent space excursion.
They’ve been quiet on this option, but NASA has said they’d accommodate passengers at a rate of $35,000 per night.
A space tourism company based in California, USA, has revealed its plans for the establishment of an Aurora Space Station. This private space station will be installed in low Earth orbit and would serve as a space hotel, accommodating up to six space travellers at a time. Orion Span introduced the plans for the Aurora Space Station back in March 2018. Although no launching agreement has been finalized for the installation of the components or manned vehicles, and development has not commenced, its spokespeople have stated that it will be deployed in 2021. The company declared in March 2021 that it has ceased operations and returned all payments.
Space Adventures seems to be the only firm that has actually transported paying clients to space since its inception in 1998. Seven individuals paid to stay from 7 to 16 days onboard the International Space Station during 2001 and 2009. Nowadays, Space Adventures provides a variety of space tourism activities. They provide launching trips to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, spaceflight instruction in Star City, Russia, and zero-gravity experiences on Earth. In orbit, they are presently accepting queries for visits to the space station as well as excursions orbiting the moon. The cost is determined by who offers the launch and how long you choose to remain.
The Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, or Roscosmos, is a Russian Federation corporate body in charge of space missions, cosmonautics programmes, and aeronautical development. In 2018, Roscosmos reported that they would be partnering up with Space Adventures to restart their space tourism programs aboard the Russian made Soyuz Rockets. As per the reports that were made public in 2019, the first few flights that would be launched by the Roscosmos will be short-term space flights (not to the International Space Station) with only two tourists onboard.
Future of Space Tourism
Several aerospace companies are putting all the resources at their disposal to enter the space tourism industry and with the growing competition, it is only a matter of months before one such space tourism company announces its full space tourism package for the enthusiasts.
Space tourism will begin with sub-orbital flights initially, perhaps regular spaceflights may be launched by Blue Origins or Virgin Galactic, however other giants in the space tourism industry will build on these sub-orbital missions and launch their own orbital and beyond-the-orbit flight operations and SpaceX is the first among such companies.
The space tourism industry will likely to get a massive boom after they decide to launch spaceflights outside the orbit and on to the moon. The lunar flights will tend to increase the interest of the folk. However, the cost on these travel plans will continue to be immensely expensive.