The most expensive space travel

Tuesday, 21 May 2024

The world’s rich can now fulfil one of the dreams they probably had as children: going into space! Sitting in weightlessness and seeing the Earth from above, from the stratosphere, must be worth all the money, and to satisfy this desire 3 major “space travel” companies have put significant resources into offering this service for serious money.

space travel

Obviously this experience is not without risk, but space travellers need to be up to date with their tests and in good enough physical condition to withstand the rigours of this trip. But the risks are far less than descending into an abyss in the Mariana Trench.

Virgin Galactic

Briton Richard Branson had a dream: to go into space. To do so, he founded Virgin Galactic, a company that offers space flights to anyone who wants them and has the financial means. Virgin Galactic believes that everyone should have access to a flight into space. You don’t have to be an astronaut or aerospace engineer to get there, as the company aims to offer the trip to anyone. Obviously there’s the small price tag, but if you really want the dream, it’s worth it.

Vingin Galactic

Virgin Galactic’s fleet consists of suborbital spacecraft such as the VSS Unity which is powered by a hybrid system and is reusable. Each trip has 2 experienced pilots on board. Each seat in the flight machine has its own window seat. In total there are 17 windows in the cabin. In a nutshell a flight has the following preparatory steps: 12 months in advance you prepare for your trip, 5 days before launch you arrive at the New Mexico spaceport to begin preparations, 3 days before take-off you meet with the astronaut instructors for a briefing on your schedule, flight profile, spacesuit and equipment, 2 days before departure the space tourist preparation will culminate in a final dress rehearsal, making sure you are comfortable with every detail during your space flight, and then it’s off and back.

The flight has a few essential steps: the suborbital flying machine is connected to a super high-performance aircraft called the VMS Eve, a custom-built, 4-engine, dual-fuselage, high-altitude-capable flying machine that is also the world’s largest all-carbon aircraft. VMS Eve will take the suborbital aircraft up to 15 kilometres altitude and then release the suborbital flight craft to propel the space travellers to 106 kilometres altitude, the peak of the journey, followed by descent and landing.

Virgin Galactic has made tickets to space available for $450,000 each, a steep increase from the original price of $250,000. We’re not sure if the flights increased due to rising demand or inflation, but that’s a huge amount of money to spend on your next trip. Flights last about 90 minutes, during which time you’ll experience weightlessness and witness a fantastic view of Earth from this height.

Blue Origin

Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon and founder of Blue Origin, wants to offer customers suborbital and orbital spaceflight in the next few years. Sources suggest the initial price will be between $200,000 and $300,000, but spacefarers have won their spaceship seats at auctions that have driven prices into the millions of dollars. Blue Origin flights can accommodate up to six passengers at a time.

Blue Origin

The company has developed its own vertical take-off rocket, New Shepard, which includes a passenger capsule on top of the rocket. Named after Alan Shepard, America’s first astronaut, New Shepard launches from the West Texas desert. During the 11-minute flight, you’ll travel at more than 3 times the speed of sound to cross the Kármán Line at 100 km altitude, hover in weightlessness for several minutes and witness life-changing views of Earth before gently descending to Earth by parachute. New Shepard is 100% reusable and fully autonomous. The booster and capsule are designed to be launched more than 25 times. The high-performance engine runs on water vapour and no carbon emissions.

Space X

Space X

Even though it’s a little behind the competition in terms of dedicated civilian space travel, SpaceX has launched its first civilian-only space flight in September 2021. You can already book space flights with them for the near future and its founder, Elon Musk, has expressed his desire to offer commercial spaceflight as soon as possible. Current plans include trips to orbit the moon, and while prices and waiting lists have not yet been set, Musk said he expects the price to be around $500,000.

If that amount seems steep to you, the good news is that SpaceX has already indicated that prices are likely to come down as time goes on and services become more frequent.

Dennis Tito and his space dream

One of the interesting stories on the subject of space tourism I found on, which says that SpaceX has signed Dennis Tito up for the 2022 space tourist who will take the first-ever spacecraft flight around the Moon, becoming (if it eventually happens) truly the world’s first space tourist.

Dennis Tito (84), the engineer-turned-financial analyst, was the first private individual to pay for a trip into space on the Russian Soyuz TM-32 mission in 2001, when he spent almost eight days aboard the International Space Station (ISS). So it would not be his first experience of this kind.

His week-long journey on the SpaceX flight will bring him within 200 km of the moon, without landing on its surface. He will be accompanied by his wife, Akiko, and 10 other people willing to pay top dollar for the trip.

Tito won’t say how much he is paying for his trip around the moon, but his trip to the ISS cost $20 million.


Author: Editor

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