To most people, the idea of traveling to space is a dream. But it is now possible through space tourism. However, it is never cheap and the opportunity can fade off for people with shallow pockets. Top entrepreneurs and billionaires, such as Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, are sparing no effort to make space-traveling a reality. They have invested heavily in developing advanced vehicles that can safely take people to and from space.
We have to agree that space tourism is likely to become a favorite pastime, especially for those with a strong desire for traveling. But the cost is a huge obstacle. Space tourism is different from standard tourism as we know it today because of the extensive risks, costs, and intensity of preparation.
The truth is that traveling to space is a preserve of the rich for now, but things are changing fast.
What Cost Did the First Space Tourist Incur?
After the first flight to the moon in 1969, people started toying with the idea of space touring. This became a reality in the early 2000s when Dennis Tito traveled aboard a Russian Soyuz and took several days on the International Space Station (ISS).
When Tito secured a seat in Soyuz, it cost him US$20 million dollars. It was very expensive. Tito had an excellent time, but other people could only watch the images he captured and listen to his experiences to get the thrill. Indeed, even Tito himself admitted that if space tourism is to become successful, the prohibitive cost has to be brought down to affordable levels.
Why is Space Travelling Very Expensive?
Looking at the amount that Tito paid, it is true that more than 95% of the global population would find it challenging to raise it. Here are the main reasons why the cost of space travelling is so high:
- Manufacturing space vehicles is a very expensive undertaking. From research work to materials, nothing is cheap.
- The cost of fuel for powering space vehicles is very expensive. To give you a clear picture of the cost, let’s look at SpaceX. According to SpaceX, every launch of Falcon 9 launch gallops US$200,000.
- Only a few companies are willing to take the risk. There are so many risks that are involved in preparing and traveling to space. From complex training to preparing space vehicles, so much can go wrong. So, the few that are courageous enough to take the risk charge a lot of money.
Space Travelling Costs Per Company
Comparing the money that Dennis Tito paid to travel to space as a tourist and the cost today, the price has significantly decreased. So, here are the charges:
- Blue Origin: $300,000
- Virgin Galactic: $250,000
- BOEING: $35,000 per night
The price changes and the growing demand for space travel indicate that we are entering a new dawn. Andrey Bokarev opines that it is just a matter of time before space-traveling becomes the new norm.