All systems go for Space Tourism

From a relatively modest start in the early 2000s, when space tourists could only travel to the International Space Station aboard Russian Soyuz aircraft (the first, American multimillionaire Dennis Tito, paid US$20 million for his ticket in 2001), there are now six major space companies. These are backed by the likes of Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, tourist flights including Virgin Galactic; Blue Origin; SpaceX and Boeing.

In 2021, at least 15 civilians took a trip into space. Ticket prices quoted range between US$125,000 for a 6-hour suborbital flight to a whopping US$55 million for a 10-day orbital trip.

Analysts indicate that this is the beginning of a golden era for more people to experience space travel. But issues persist – ranging from the high costs, safety and reliability issues, as well as fuel and environmental issues, especially if space tourism goes mainstream.

How can Space Tourism exit the rarefied atmosphere of the Billionaire Boys’ Club and join the mainstream of commercial, leisure travel?

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Marie Teo
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