Space tourism has experienced short spurts of reality. In 2001 Dennis Tito became the first tourist, paying $20 million, to travel to the international space station. Yet there hasn’t been much activity within space tourism since 2009, but things are changing and space tourism seems very probable in 2019. Currently several space trips are being planned with the hopes of space tourism becoming a norm within the next decade. Industry analyst Caleb Williams states, ” 2019 does feel like the year that’s going to be the culmination of two decades of development work that have gone into space tourism, and if we’re lucky, we’ll see the birth of an entirely new industry.”
With Elon Musk’s recent rocket launch with his company Space X, many companies are starting to fund development into making space tourism a reality. One company is Virgin Galactic who has recently been experimenting with the boundaries of space travel. In 2018, the company launched their first trip into near space with two pilots, Mark Stucky and Frederick Sturkcow, reaching an altitude of 82.7 kilometers. The company plans on taking taking passengers to space possibly this year. Around 700 people have already purchased tickets for an out of world experience, which includes weightlessness and views of the earth. Virgin Galactic isn’t the only company that has plans for space travel in the recent future.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has also launched recent space trips with his reusable rocket, New Shepard, which has flown to space 10 times. Bezos’s privately funded company Blue Origin is targeting for it’s human space flight this year with tickets that are priced around those of Virgin Galactic’s.
Lastly two more well known companies Elon Musk’s Space X and Boeing are helping to make space trips for astronauts possible. NASA uses both companies to take astronauts to the International Space Station, but both companies are planning to create paid trips to space. Although currently only the rich can afford the ticket price which ranges from $200,000 to $250,000 space tourism is seemingly becoming more and more of a reality that will most likely accommodate the public in the coming decades. Space policy analyst Laura Forczyk reasons that “once we see humans flying on commercial rockets from the US, I think that space tourism will gain credibility, and that will be great for the industry overall.”
Even though space tourism has had many years of false hope 2019 seems like the year where many expectations will turn into reality with four company’s possibly launching humans to space by the end of the year.