Founded by Elon Musk, SpaceX is a space transportation, space tourism and spacecraft manufacturing company, based in the United States. It is one of the best-known companies proposing commercial space travel in the near future, and one of the few private enterprises to have actually achieved successful space flight. In this article, you will learn more about SpaceX, the company’s proposals, and space tourism in general.
What is Space Tourism?
The phrase ‘space tourism’ is used to refer to space travel that occurs for recreational or leisure purposes. Also known as personal space flight, the idea involves putting paying customers into space. This could mean sub-orbital travel, orbital travel, or even exploration outside of Earth orbit, such as trips to Mars or the moon.
So far, only the Russian Space Agency has actually managed to provide a form of space tourism, but it stopped pursuing these activities in 2010. However, a number of private businesses, including SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, are planning to provide commercial space travel in the not-too-distant future.
More information about Space Tourism, you can read in the article “Space Tourism: 5 Space Companies That Will Make You An Astronaut”.
What is SpaceX?
SpaceX is one of the best-known aerospace companies in the world. Based out of Hawthorne, California in the United States, the business is owned by the billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla, Inc.
As a company, SpaceX are already experienced in delivering successful space flight missions, having become the first private company to ever successfully launch and recover a spacecraft. Its other achievements have included: launching a Tesla Roadster into orbit around the sun, and developing a fully reusable launch system.
When it comes to the business’s space tourism aspirations, SpaceX announced in 2017 that it intends to send two paying customers on a lunar orbit mission in the near future. In the longer term, the company has extremely ambitious plans to not only put human beings on Mars, but to establish permanent human colonies on the planet.
Crucially, this makes SpaceX the most high-profile space tourism company proposing commercial space flight that will go beyond Earth orbit. However, the extent of these ambitions means SpaceX have not yet announced an official pricing strategy for either lunar or Mars trips, and the company does not have an active waiting list.
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What Does a SpaceX Flight Cost?
Unlike one of its main rivals – Virgin Galactic – SpaceX has not yet started selling tickets for its space tourism offerings and no pricing strategy or waiting list has been announced for its planned trips to the moon.
Nevertheless, when discussing future travel to Mars, Elon Musk has made clear that he is confident the price will eventually be around $500,000 and potentially even as low as $100,000. One of SpaceX’s goals is to make travel to Mars affordable enough that people can choose to sell their home on earth and move there permanently.
4 Other Promising Space Tourism Companies
1. Virgin Galactic
Part of the Virgin Group owned by Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic is widely regarded as the leading space tourism company in the world, having already put a space plane into outer space in 2018, with its two pilots earning commercial astronaut status. It is aiming to provide regular sub-orbital space trips for customers in the near future. More detailed information about Virgin Galactic, you can read in the article “Virgin Galactic: Information About Virgin Space Flights”.
2. Blue Origin
Like Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin is also prioritising sub-orbital space travel. However, unlike its main rival, it is planning to use a more traditional vertical take-off rocket. The company was founded by Amazon president Jeff Bezos, and anticipates an offering where six passengers are taken on each space flight. More detailed information about Blue Origin, you can read in the article “Blue Origin: Information About Blue Origin Space Flights”.
3. Orion Span
Orion Span is a space tourism company, which is intent on providing a different type of space tourism experience entirely. It plans to place a space station – the Aurora Space Station – into orbit and then turn it into a space hotel. The ambitious offering will see customers pay $9.5 million to stay in the space hotel for 12 days. More detailed information about Origin Span, you can read in the article “Orion Span: Information About Orion Span Space Hotel”.
Finally, Boeing has flown under the radar in the race to provide reliable space tourism, yet the company signed an agreement with NASA, which is primarily intended to commit Boeing to develop the Boeing CST-100 Starliner crew capsule. Interestingly, part of the agreement will entitle Boeing to sell seats on the capsule to paying customers.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is one of several companies promising to take paying customers into space for the purposes of space tourism, but it is also one of the best-placed, given its achievements in the field. Moreover, one of the most exciting things about SpaceX is the company’s desire to pursue space tourism that extends beyond Earth orbit.