Getting to the stars has remained a dream for many people. Dennis Tito achieved the lifelong goal on 28 April 2001. Dennis Tito is not a typical astronaut. He is a wealthy businessperson who paid over US$20 million to tour the space in the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. That made him the first space tourist. Only eight people visited the International Space Station as tourists in the last 20 years due to the high costs but the number is expected to reduce.
If you have been planning to tour the space, you should know that the cost is very high. Many people describe the flight from the United States to French Polynesia or Queensland as thrilling, but the cost of this flight is not close to what you have to pay for a tour to space. Fortunately, the price of touring space has been reducing recently.
The Cost of Touring the Space
To know why space tourism is expensive, you have to understand how the industry has been changing. Even though the idea of people flying to and from space for leisure came into being after the first visit to the moon in 1969, the cost was very high and no one was willing to spend such an amount. After Dennis Tito stated that one of his goals was to travel to space, NASA was not ready to take him there. NASA indicated that he was unqualified.
Later, Dennis Tito paid $20 million for a seat in the Russian Soyuz. He spent eight days in the International Space Station before coming back to the earth. While Tito liked the experience, he indicated that he would want to see it reduced so that many people could experience weightlessness at a lower cost. His dream has come true because the cost has reduced highly within the last 10 years.
Why Space Tours are Expensive
Only a few people can afford to pay the $20 million. That alone makes the pleasure trip look like a venture for the rich people. But why is the price very high. To understand why the price is very high, you have to consider the following two factors.
- The High-Cost Building Space Vehicles
Space vehicles are different from the standard vehicles that run on earth. They are made with special materials that protect them from the dangerous space environment. For example, each space vehicle should protect travelers from the dangerous cosmic radiation in space. The designs and materials are very expensive.
- Only a Few Space Companies are ready to take the Risk
Traveling to space is a complicated thing, particularly when tourists are involved. The tourists have to go through comprehensive training and medical analysis before they blast off to space. The many events require sophisticated technology, meaning that only a few companies are ready to invest in the niche. As the law of demand and supply states, the cost is high when the demand is high and the supply is low. The price is likely to go down as many investors join the industry.
How the Cost of Traveling to Space Vary from One Space Company to the Other
Many travelers are willing to pay any amount to tour the space. The expected high returns have attracted many players and the effect is reduced prices. Here are the prices some of the companies are charging their travelers.
- Virgin Galactic: US$250,000
- Blue Origin: US$300,000
- Axiom: US$55 million
- Boeing: US$35,000 per night
The price of journeying to space has reduced. We also expect it to reduce further because more companies are joining the industry. Andrey Bokarev states that more travelers will be ready to travel to space in the future. After all, you would want to travel if your relative or close friend traveled to space and landed on earth safely. So, if one of your goals is to experience weightlessness in space, start preparing for the experience.