When most people think about tourism and commercial travel, they tend to imagine trips to other parts of our own planet. However, we are now living in an era where commercial space flight is becoming a realistic prospect. In this article, we will explain more about space tourism and offer information on how you can book a ticket into space.
- An Introduction to the Space Industry
- What is a Space Flight?
- In a Nutshell: The History of Space Flight
- Video: A Quick History of Space Flights & Exploration
- First Man and Woman to Make a Space Flight
- Space Tourism: Everything You Need to Know
- Who Was the First Tourist to Make a Space Flight?
- How Can I Book a Space Flight?
- Video: Space Flights for Tourists
- How to Book a Hotel in Space
Before getting into the specifics of how to book a ticket for space flight, it is important to fully get to grips with what the space industry is and what it entails. This means understanding the different segments of the space industry, the history of space travel and exploration, and knowing some of the main businesses and organisations involved.
Additionally, it is worth taking the time to learn about the emerging space tourism industry too. Fortunately, all of this information and more can be found in our “Space Industry: The No. 1 Guide into Space!” article.
What is a Space Flight?
A space flight refers to the use of a spacecraft, in order to travel beyond the Earth’s atmosphere and into outer space. This can include uncrewed space flight, where no people are onboard the flight, but it can also include human spaceflight, which is where a human crew and/or human passengers are on board, allowing them to travel into space.
Most commonly, human space flight is carried out by astronauts – usually for the purposes of space exploration and research. However, increasingly, aerospace companies are investing in the area of space tourism, providing services that allow paying customers to experience space flight for themselves.
In a Nutshell: The History of Space Flight
While proposals were made as early as the 19th century, the history of space flight in the true sense can be traced to the mid 20th century. Many of the biggest breakthroughs occurred during the Cold War era, after the Second World War, with the United States and the Soviet Union leading the charge.
The first artificial Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, was successfully launched by the Soviet Union in 1957, while the first living thing was sent into space later the same year, when a dog called Laika was placed on board Sputnik 2. The next stage in the history of space flight involved sending humans into space for the first time.
Video: A Quick History of Space Flights & Exploration
First Man and Woman to Make a Space Flight
In 1961, the Soviet Union sent the first man into space, as Yuri Gagarin’s capsule, Vostok 1, completed a single orbit of the Earth. Then, just two years later, the first woman in space was also sent there by the Soviet Union, as Valentina Tereshkova engaged on a solo space flight aboard the Vostok 6 craft.
Other significant milestones include the first American man in space, Alan Shepard, who was on board the Freedom 7 capsule in 1961, and the first American woman in space, Sally Ride, who participated in the 1983 STS-7 Space Shuttle mission. Of course, in 1969, Neil Armstrong from the United States also became the first person to walk on the moon.
Space Tourism: Everything You Need to Know
One of the most exciting areas of space flight has emerged in recent times and involves taking paying customers and putting them into outer space. This practice, which is referred to as space tourism, is an area where many aerospace companies are investing significantly and some have even started working on proposals for space hotels.
Read the “Space Tourism: 5 Space Companies That Will Make You An Astronaut” article for much more information about space tourism, its growth, the companies that are involved in offering space tourism services, and some of the most exciting plans that are in place from the likes of Virgin, SpaceX and Boeing.
Space flight for tourism purposes became a reality early 21st century, with the Russian Federal Space Agency serving as the first organisation to provide commercial space travel. The first person to take advantage of this offering was Dennis Tito, an American entrepreneur, who spent eight days in space as an ISS EP-1 crew member.
Read our article, “Space Tourist: Who Was The First Tourist in Space?” for much more information on the topic of space tourism in general, as well as the story of Dennis Tito, who is recognised as the world’s first space tourist.
How Can I Book a Space Flight?
Some aerospace companies are already taking bookings for space flights, while others have plans to start taking bookings in the near future. The best way to make sure you get your ticket for the trip of a lifetime is to stay up-to-date with the latest news and information from the following organisations:
With SpaceX you can already book space flights for the near future. SpaceX is one of the best-known aerospace companies around and its founder, Elon Musk, has expressed a desire to provide commercial space flight as soon as possible. Current plans include trips orbiting the moon, and while pricing and waiting lists are not yet in place, Musk has indicated that he expects the price to be in the region of $500,000.
If that is a little out of your price range, the good news is that SpaceX has already indicated that prices are likely to come down as time goes on and services become more frequent. You can learn much more about SpaceX and their plans for space tourism by reading “SpaceX Information: Rockets, Spacecrafts and Spaceflights”.
Virgin Galactic is another aerospace company where you can book a flight into space. Virgin Galactic is arguably the main rival to SpaceX when it comes to commercial space flight. The company is focused primarily on providing suborbital space tourism and aims to be the first private business to send paying customers into space. A number of well-known stars have already booked flights, including Brad Pitt and Tom Hanks.
People who are interested in flying with Virgin Galactic can register their interest on the company’s official website at VirginGalactic.com. You can also learn more about Virgin Galactic as a business, its intended space tourism offering and information about pricing by reading the article “Virgin Galactic: Information About Virgin Space Flights”.
Blue Origin was founded by Amazon owner Jeff Bezos and is looking to provide both suborbital and orbital space flight for paying customers in the coming years. Sources suggest that initial pricing will be between $200,000 and $300,000 and Blue Origin’s flights will be able to accommodate up to six passengers at a time.
The company has developed its own vertical take-off rocket, called the New Shepard, and this includes a passenger capsule at the tip. To find out more about the history of Blue Origin, its proposals for space tourism and the available pricing information, read our article, “Blue Origin: Information About Blue Origin Space Flights”.
Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft has been developed in partnership with NASA and will provide flights to the Bigelow Aerospace Commercial Space Station. As part of the agreement between Boeing and NASA, one seat on a Boeing Starliner space flight is able to be sold to a paying customer, allowing Boeing to take them into low Earth orbit.
The Starliner had its maiden launch, an unmanned flight, in 2019 and it is expected that the first crewed flight will take place in the near future. After that point, it should become possible to book a space flight through Boeing.
Video: Space Flights for Tourists
How to Book a Hotel in Space
One of the other intriguing aspects of commercial space flight and the rise of space tourism is the possibility of space hotels. Already, we have seen a major proposal from Orion Span in the form of the Aurora Space Station, which will serve as a luxury space hotel, while NASA’s agreements with SpaceX and Boeing allow for ISS visits.
To find out much more about the possibility of booking a hotel in space, along with information on the aerospace companies providing such services, read “Space Hotel: How to Book a Hotel in Space”.
Commercial space flight and space tourism are becoming more realistic prospects by the day and some aerospace companies are already in the process of accepting bookings. Generally, these bookings amount to securing a place on a waiting list, but individuals on those waiting lists could experience a trip to space within the very near future.