Can you really book a trip to space?
With the commercial space industry advancing at an exciting rate, the question many people are wondering is if you can actually book a trip into space.
It has been something that those in the industry have spoken about for years now, but is it just that – talk – or is there something more to it?
The answer to whether or not you can book a trip to space is now a yes! We take a look at the reality of space tourism, looking at two of the best options should you want to book a trip to space. We also would like to extend our gratitude to Mercator for their data and insights in putting this article together.
One of the biggest companies to have touted space tourism for a while now is Virgin. Spearheaded by CEO Sir Richard Branson, the program has been accepting bookings since way back in 2014. Various celebrities, from Brad Pitt to Lady Gaga, forked out the $250,000 for a reservation.
Prices now start at $450,000 per seat, although with add ons that price can go significantly higher. Trips are slated to start in late 2022, although as it’s such a revolutionary type of transport, there are likely to be complications that could delay the date of this public maiden voyage.
What does the flight include?
You might be wondering what you get for $450,000 dollars – can you walk on the moon? The answer is, unfortunately, not quite. You’ll take off from the spaceport in New Mexico, flying at speeds of up to 3,000 mph until you reach an altitude of around 51 miles.
This places you in space, with NASA’s definition placing the start of space at 50 miles above the earth. You’ll be able to float, weightless, and view the planet from which you came – Earth – through one of the 17 windows. Virgin hopes to have around 3 launches per month by 2023, allowing them to get through their current backlog of around 700 paid passengers.
The main alternative for space tourism is currently offered by Blue Origin, a company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
How much a seat costs is currently unclear; seats have been privately auctioned off for as much as $28 million, but the company has so far been reluctant to reveal how much tickets will be when they go on public sale. Estimates have been that they will start at around $200,000, but only time will see if those predictions hold true.
What will you get?
If past flights are anything to go by, you’ll take off on the rocket ship New Shepherd (or a similar model) from the launch site in Van Horn, Texas. You’ll then be flown up above the Kármán Line, around 62 miles above the earth.
This line is the other line that is used to mark the end of Earth’s atmosphere and the beginning of outer space. You’ll then spend a while in zero gravity, looking back on Planet Earth in wonder, before descending back down to terra firma in the space capsule.