It’s as far away from home as you can go, but you don’t need a passport to get there.
Intrepid travelers are already lining up to board commercial flights to space as soon as they become available.
CGTN’s John Zarrella looks at the race for space tourism.
Anousheh Ansari is not fond of the label “space tourist.” She prefers the term, “space explorers.”
Whatever you wish to call it, Ansari is a pioneer. She was the first privately funded female space explorer. In 2006, she flew on a Russian rocket to the International Space Station, spending nine days there.
Ansari believes space tourism will be hugely popular because it’s a spiritual experience that changes you.
“And that perspective shift I believe makes you a better person. It makes you care more about your world, your planet and it helps you prioritize what’s important in life,” she said.
Space tourism, in its infancy now, may be on the verge of taking off. Both Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin hope to begin flying passengers this year on short flights into the lower edge of space.
Virgin Galactic has more than 600 people signed up at $250,000 per seat. Blue Origin isn’t selling tickets yet, nor has it announced a price per seat. But, they’re expected to be at least $200,000.
SpaceX, meanwhile, is building its Starship that could eventually carry 100 people. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has booked a 2023 flight around the moon for himself and half a dozen friends. Price unknown. But the well of wealthy people is limited.
Former space shuttle astronaut Scott Parazynski believes for these companies to be successful, the cost per seat must come down to about $50,000 – the price of a nice car.
“Would I opt for a chance, even someone like me who as flown in space five times? Would I give up on a car for another shot in the barrel?” Parazynski asks. “Absolutely. I would take my wife and kids and I would absolutely do that. So, I do think that once the price point does come down, there will be a sizeable market.”
Apollo 15 command module pilot Al Worden is one of the few humans who has already seen the moon up close. Worden says he’ll hold off booking a seat until the industry as a whole is a little more developed.
“When they get to the point where there’s a Hilton hotel in space you can go to for two hundred dollars a night, then yes, we’ll have space tourism,” said Worden.
Swiss bank UBS estimates that a decade from now space tourism will be a $3 billion a year industry. By then, the price for a ticket to ride should be at least a bit more affordable.
Tariq Malik discusses the future of space tourism
CGTN’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke with Tariq Malik, astrojournalist and Managing Editor of Space.com, about the burgeoning space tourism industry.