What is the Cost of Space Tourism?

What is the Cost of Space Tourism?
source: starwalk

To many people, traveling to space is the ultimate dream and once-in-a-lifetime experience if it becomes a reality. This does not have to be a dream anymore because we have already ushered in the era of space tourism. However, traveling to space is very expensive, making it appear like a rich man’s affair.  But as we are going to see in this post, things are changing fast and the cost is moving down.

Top billionaires, such as Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson, have already taken the task of promoting space tourism and are working hard to create the next generation of space vehicles. At the current rate of new space vehicles development, we must say that space tourism could soon become a favorite activity for many.

Space tourism is different from conventional tourism because the costs, intensity of preparations, and risks are very high for most people. So, how much does it exactly cost to travel space as a tourist? Here are the numbers.

How Much Did the First Space Tourist Pay?

Although so many people would want to travel to space as tourists, the cost is prohibitive. The idea was mooted following the successful Apollo Mission to the moon in 1969, but it was not until the beginning of the 21st century that it became a reality.

Dennis Tito was the first space traveler aboard the Russian Soyuz, a trip that cost him US$20 million. Many people feel it is too expensive. Tito also pointed out that the cost was high and asked companies that were promoting space tourism to push the cost low for ordinary people. More than 95% of the global population cannot afford it.

This brings us to the big question, why is space traveling so expensive? Here are some of the main reasons:

  • The process of developing space vehicles is very expensive. For example, materials that can withstand high temperatures, blast during launch, and protect people from cosmic radiation are very expensive.
  • The cost of fueling space vehicles is so high. The fuel used to power the space vehicles is very expensive. For example, SpaceX uses about USD 200,000 for every launch of Falcon 9.
  • The risks involved in space travel are very high, and only a few companies are willing to take them. Those willing to take up the risk charge a premium for it.

The Cost of Space Travel Per Company

Now that you know the main reasons why space traveling is so expensive, the next question is, “what do individual companies charge?” The lovely thing about the cost of space traveling is that it is coming down pretty fast. If you want to book a ticket to space today, the cost is only a fraction of what Dennis Tito, the first space tourist, paid. Check out the breakdown for different companies below:

  • Boeing: US$35,000 per night.
  • Virgin Galactic: USD$250,000.
  • Blue Origin: USD$300,000.

According to Andrey Bokarev, space traveling is expected to become a normal activity for more people as new companies venture into the industry. The cost is also coming down, and this will be an awesome opportunity for more people to try traveling with a difference. It is only a matter of time before space travel emerges as a major rival to traditional travel.