Space Tourism Gets Cheaper and Cheaper
Two of the major space tourism companies have hit milestones in recent recent weeks, but only one can claim that they're kind of sort of approaching prices that would allow them to credibly market themselves to consumers. Space flight isn't going to be affordablewhatever that will end up meaningin the next decade. But it's still worth noting how the barest hints of competition are already pushing down prices, and how Space Adventuresabout whom we've written before - is undercutting Virgin Galactic in the blossoming sub-orbital travel market by literally a hundred thousand dollars.
Space Adventures just unveiled their proposed consumer space travel package. They'll put tourists on a vertically launched vehicle, currently under development by Armadillo Aerospace, and fire them 62 miles above the ground. Once there, the engine would be shut down and passengers would float weightless for about five minutes, availing themselves of a 360-degree view of Earth. The anticipated price tag? A mere $102,000.
Obviously those costs are still beyond what most consumers can afford. But with Virgin Galactic promising to charge more than $200,000 per seat on their sub-orbital cruiser, it's still a welcome announcement. Meanwhile Virgin Galactic has their own progress to report. Their rocket ship just passed its first battery of captive-carry flights, where it flew strapped to the back of a mothership. Eventually the cruiser will be launched from the back of that ship and go into space. Until then, fingers crossed that prices keep dropping and dropping.
We live in an age where the International Space Station has an observation deck and Internet access. Astronauts can file Amazon orders from space. Affordable sub-orbital tourism can't be that far off, right?
[Photo: Armadillo Aerospace]
· Tourism firm to offer space rides for $102,000 [MSNBC]
· Space Tourism [Jaunted]
· Science Travel [Jaunted]