How Much Does A Trip to Space Cost?
While most civilians have watched the progress of the space program, sending astronauts off into orbit, sending probes to the planets, and out of the solar system, and hearing of the benefits of space technologies staying back here on terra firma, many of us have wanted to go to space ourselves.
Yet now space tourism has begun to become viable. Paying customers are ready. The former $20 million tickets, with Dennis Tito first among them (albeit to the International Space Station), remain as relics of another era.
Regardless, the space ventures of anew are beginning to move beyond 'proof of concept' and entering into the arena of the privitazation of our local space. This business will only act to lower the price spacefare tickets.
Current Destination OptionsUp until the year 2012 there has been one primary packager of orbital space trips and that has been Space Adventures Ltd. (through the 'Russian Federal Space Agency'). As of 2010 Space Adventures has teamed with Armidillo Aerospace to offer a suborbital destination starting at $110,000.
Space Adventures is also packaging lunar travel -- a circumlunar swing from inside a Russian Soyuz capsule. But for that you will have to wait until approximately 2017, this carrying a cost of a cool $100,000,000 which might provide a wild exception to the trend of plummeting prices.
Virgin Galactic now heralds as the other main provider of space flights for the civil sector. With private trips currently expected during the 2014 year, SpaceShipTwo comes appointed with smart seating, a generaous window view and a floating experence. Reservations will mean a $20,000 deposit with the ticket at a $200,00 total.
SpaceX, another company in serious competition for the consumer space dollar, is doing so on a platform of cost reduction through the concept of re-usability. A Dragon capsule atop a Falcon rocket successfully docked with the International Space station in May 2012 for a demonstation flight and this same capsule can move crew. Elon Musk, the head of SpaceX and Chief Designer, also has revealed informally future plans that are headed for the moon, and actually, colonization of the planets to follow.
Bigelow Aerospace, helmed by Robert Bigelow of the Budget Suites hotel chain, has developed habitation modules for possible use by civilians. The Genesis I and Genesis II modules have been launched, tested, and considered as forerunners for possible future habitat modules. Cost data at the present however is scarce if not unknown.