If you’ve got a little money burning a hole in your pocket, we present the newest destination for tourists – space! As space travel becomes more commercialized and less supported by the government, new opportunities have presented themselves for travelers who want to go the extra mile – or sixty-two miles – straight up.
Space Travel Providers
Virgin Galactic is one of the pioneers of the space travel industry. They recently made news on July 15 when their VSS Enterprise made its first crewed flight into space. The flight initiated from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. Reservations start at $200,000 with a minimum $20,000 deposit – by far the cheapest being marketed today!
Virgin Galactic has some well-known names behind the company and its technology. It was founded by Sir Richard Branson, whose Virgin Brands (think Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Virgin Records, et cetera), and is based on technology licensed from Spaceship One, a company financed in part by Microsoft co-founded Paul Allen.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is a little closer to our home, having completed its test flight and achieving orbit on June 18 after lifting off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Customers can get a ride into low-earth orbit for a mere $49.9 million. The great news is that the company offers financing! Flights are launched from Cape Canaveral air force station or from Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands (which are in the Pacific Ocean, roughly between Australia and Hawaii).
Space Adventures is another company offering not only sub-orbital flights, but orbital missions and even a lunar landing. Their flights are available at the present (no LONG planning necessary), provided you have $20 – 35 million available to cover the costs of the trip aboard the Russian Soyuz craft to the International Space Station.
Space Adventures has taken seven tourists into space so far.
What do you get in a suborbital flight?
Passengers on any of these suborbital flights get a number of traditional spaceflight experiences. You experience several minutes of true weightlessness, and get a vision of dark star-field skies. You also get a great view of the curvature of the Earth below.
So if you’re bored with the planet Earth, and you think you’ve seen and done it all as a world traveler, look up instead of out and give space travel a try.