Since Elon Musk announced his SpaceX project, it seems that outer space is the new frontier for tourism. Space tourism is something that will not be available to many for economic reasons, but we also remember that it was not until the second half of the last century that transatlantic commercial flights began to be launched regularly and the first ones had prices that were quite unattainable for the most of the population.
But so much maelstrom these days regarding the launch of SpaceX, leads us to confuse the concept of space tourism. The true reason for the prominence of SpaceX is its Falcon 9, a reusable rocket that was already tested 4 years ago, successfully taking off and landing. This new rocket opened the doors for NASA to use it as a connecting vehicle between Earth and the International Space Station (ISS).
Until now and for about ten years, NASA relies on Russian Soyuz pods and launch pads for these missions. This project allows them to regain their independence from their direct rivals in the space race.
If all goes well, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be the crew of the Crew Dragon, a capsule that will be the connection module to the orbital station.
Here is another opportunity that already has a name, Commercial Crew. It is the joint idea between NASA, ISS and SpaceX for space tourism of the future. The significant cost reduction that implies the use of these new rockets and the capacity of the cabin of its capsule, which allows up to seven crew members, open a new possibility.
Almost 20 years ago Denis Tito paid $ 20 million to spend 8 days in the orbital station where he arrived aboard a Soyuz. Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté in 2009 paid $ 35 million for an 11-day trip.
For now, we know that staying at the ISS at the price of $ 35,000 per night, not counting a flight, the cost of which is not yet known, has four interested on a waiting list according to Space Adventures.
Another issue is that of the companies Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, which are developing ships capable of flying, for a few minutes, just above the limit of space, 80 or 100 km according to the definition chosen by each company, to private passengers, to $ 250,000 change in the case of Virgin. Something more modest but more affordable if you want to treat yourself of this magnitude.