What is space tourism and how much does it cost to fly into space

On Cosmonautics Day, we find out where to buy a ticket to orbit

What is space tourism. Photo: @astronomybasics

Did you know that only 600 people have been in space so far? This unfortunate mistake is planned to be corrected by several “tour operators” of space destinations simultaneously. How much does a flight to space cost and what is included in the package of orbital services – in the detailed InStyle.ru guide dedicated to Cosmonautics Day and the first manned flight to the stars.

Suborbital flights

Cost: $ 250,000

Flight time: 10-15 minutes

“Flying into space is cheap” – what determines the price of a flight? The cost of a “ticket” to space depends on the range of the flight, its length and the level of preliminary preparations. Today, there are several service packages offered by various operators in the space tourism market.

What is space tourism.  Photo: @astronomybasics photo # 2
What is space tourism. Photo: @astronomybasics

According to the definition of the International Aviation Federation, outer space begins at an altitude of 100 kilometers above sea level. This conditional boundary is called the Karman Line. If you’ve covered more than 100 kilometers – congratulations, you’re an astronaut. It is on this assumption that suborbital tourism is built.

There is another nuance. The US Air Force views outer space at an altitude of 80 kilometers, and the International Federation of Aeronautics – from 100 kilometers. This difference was played by the pioneers of suborbital tourism, the Virgin Galactic company to businessman Richard Branson, who were the first to send tourists to the stars in the summer of 2021. The Unity spacecraft rose to an altitude of more than 80 kilometers, where the crew could experience weightlessness for five minutes and returned safely to earth. The whole flight took 15 minutes.

In the same 2021, Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard spacecraft went on a suborbital flight with tourists on board. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The capsule reached a height of 107 kilometers, overcame the Karman line and “lost its nose at the same time” for Richard Branson and his clients. The flight lasted 10 minutes and 28 seconds.

What is space tourism.  Photo: @astronomybasics photo # 3
What is space tourism. Photo: @astronomybasics

Suborbital flying is a popular adventure, trendy among Hollywood stars. In flight on New Shepard comes in particular, Kim Kardashian’s boyfriend Pete Davidson and Newlyweds Brooklyn and Nicola Peltz-Beckham.

Flights to the ISS

Cost: $ 20-58 million

Flight time: 7-14 days

Space Adventures is the exclusive operator that in collaboration with Roscosmos Corporation managed to send seven tourists to the stars from 2001 to 2009. 2021-2022, the American company planned to send an eighth adventurer to the ISS, but today the project is predictably frozen.

The American tourist Dennis Tito was the first to go into orbit and flew to the International Space Station on the Russian spacecraft Soyuz. The expedition lasted from April 28 to May 6 and cost the traveler $ 20 million. A total of seven people have been in space during the space tourism program Space Adventures, and one of them (the American Charles Simonyi) has traveled twice. The seventh and so far last tourist on the ISS was Guy Laliberte, born in Canada and founder of Cirque du Soleil, who flew from September 30 to October 11, 2009 for $ 35 million.

What is space tourism.  Photo: @astronomybasics photo # 4
What is space tourism. Photo: @astronomybasics

Since 2009, the program for tourist flights to the ISS has been temporarily restricted, but Space Adventures continues to offer customers a package of services, the price of which has reached 50 million. The price includes two weeks of preparation, medical check-ups and a careful preparation of any emergencies.

Progress does not stand still and during 12 years of “idle”, Space Adventures has acquired competitors. In 2020, an active startup, Axiom Space, announced itself in the space tourism market and invited tourists to space travel on Crew Dragon ships, manufactured by SpaceX, founded by the planet’s richest man, Elon Musk. Such a journey was made possible by the opening of the SpaceX section of the International Space Station.

In September 2021, Crew Dragon launched the first non-professional crew of four space tourists on a three-day low-Earth orbit flight, paying $ 55 million for the opportunity. Since then, the program has stuck to the stage of selling tours, and Crew Dragon ships do not yet transport tourists.

What is space tourism.  Photo: @astronomybasics photo # 5
What is space tourism. Photo: @astronomybasics

In mid-2019, NASA announced the opening of its section on the International Space Station for Tourism and Other Business. NASA plans to send tourists to the ISS for $ 58 million, three million more than Axiom Space’s price tag.

It should also be noted that the domestic company Glavkosmos, which is responsible for commercial flights for space travelers, organized the filming of the first feature film in space in 2021 to draw attention to orbital tourism on Soyuz spacecraft. For the filming of the “Challenge” project, the crew consisting of actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko went to the ISS on October 5 and returned safely to Earth on October 17.

What is space tourism.  Photo: @astronomybasics photo # 6
What is space tourism. Photo: @astronomybasics

Fly to the moon

Cost: trade secret

Flight time: discussed

While space “tour operators” work to sell services and improve service, somewhere out there, in their parallel universe, Elon Musk will send billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, his assistants and eight other passengers around the moon.

A Japanese businessman bought all the seats on the SpaceX Starship and invited everyone to apply for the first tourist flight around the moon in 2023. The goal of the dearMoon project is to let talented people fly around the moon for free, which according to Miezawa should inspire them to create new works of art.

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