A number of millionaires are queuing up for a tour to space. If you want to join in, book your tickets now. The ticket for one-week stay in space is for mere $20 million. The experience of few minutes of weightlessness will be yours. Many companies such as Virgin Galactic have already started booking seats for their first passenger spacecraft.
Space tourism entails space travel for leisure, business, or recreation. The general public is getting more and more interested towards space tourism. After several false starts in 1950s, 60s, and 70s, the space tourism gained momentum in 1990s, and on April 28, 2001, American businessman Dennis Tito became the world’s first space tourist, despite reluctance from NASA. He paid $20 million to fly on Russian spacecraft Soyuz TM-32. He stayed for seven days on the ISS. After him South African businessperson Mark Shuttleworth, and later American businessperson Greg Olsen also toured the space. They were followed by Anousheh Ansari, an Iran born American entrepreneur, who became the first female space tourist. After her, the fifth space tourist was a software architect Charles Simonyi, who went to the space on April 7, 2007. There was a break in these journeys by Russia, but now orbital tourism will resume in 2013.
These trips are just the beginning of space tourism. Now it will soon gain momentum because of massive interest of general public. However, at present, it is very expensive, and meant only for very rich people, but initial cost of any new launch is always high. Take the example of aircrafts. Initial trip of commercial aircrafts used to cost a bomb, and was considered a thrill and adventure of filthy rich people. But now a flight in an airplane is nothing but a boring journey from one place to another. In the same way when a large number of trips with many people will start operating, the cost of trips will go down. Many companies believe it to be a lucrative business and have already invested millions on it.
Future Orbital projects
- Virgin Galactic has already started booking tickets for seats in its spacecraft, which is expected to be launched later this year.
- A private space company Space X is developing its own rocket family, which they call falcon, and a capsule called Dragon. Test flights have already started.
- Space Adventures plan to fly thousands of people in space over the next 10-15 years. They are working on DSE-Alpha, which will take a circle of moon.
- Boeing is planning to launch CST-100 using an Atlas V rocket.
Many hotels also have plans for using space stations as a hotel.