Virgin Galactic is one of the best-known space tourism companies in the world and the business is aiming to offer commercial space travel in the foreseeable future. In this article, you will find out more information about the future of Virgin space flight and the anticipated cost of boarding a Virgin Galactic spaceship.
What is Space Tourism?
Space tourism is the name used to describe a specific kind of space travel, which is performed for recreational or business purposes. It essentially refers to sending private citizens into space, in exchange for money. Space tourists are also sometimes described as private astronauts or commercial astronauts.
To date, only the Russian Space Agency has actually successfully carried out regular commercial space flights, although a number of private companies are aiming to do so in the near future, including Virgin Galactic.
More information about Space Tourism, you can read in the article “Space Tourism: 5 Space Companies That Will Make You An Astronaut”.
What is Virgin Galactic?
Virgin Galactic was founded by Richard Branson in 2004 and forms part of the Virgin Group. It is a space tourism company, which is aiming to provide space flights for tourists in the near future. Virgin Galactic is widely regarded as the front runner within the ‘space tourism race’, having put one of its space planes in outer space in 2018.
The company headquarters is located in Mojave, California, and Virgin Galactic has already sold hundreds of tickets for future flights into space. While early customers are primarily celebrities, scientists and other extremely wealthy individuals, the long-term goal is for the flights to be affordable for ordinary people too.
Although the company is well-placed to deliver space travel in the near future, it has not been without its issues. Virgin Galactic originally aimed to deliver space flight by 2009, but that was delayed, while in 2014 the Virgin Galactic spaceship VSS Enterprise crashed, resulting in the death of its co-pilot, Michael Alsbury.
Following the VSS Enterprise crash, a new Virgin Galactic spaceship, VSS Unity, was introduced as a replacement. It was this spaceship which completed a successful test flight into outer space and back in 2018. As a result of the accomplishment, its two pilots earned commercial astronaut status from the United States government.
Video: Virgin Galactic In Space For The Second Time
Video: Richard Branson on Virgin Galactic’s Space Flight
What Does Virgin Space Flight Cost?
When Virgin Galactic first started selling tickets for space flights, the price was listed as $200,000, or around £150,000. However, this price was subsequently increased and the cost of a ticket for a Virgin space flight currently stands at $250,000, or approximately £175,000.
This sizeable price tag has meant that Virgin space flights are out of the price range of most people, and early waiting lists are dominated by celebrities and rich entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, Richard Branson has expressed a desire to bring the price down to around $40,000, or £30,000, within 10 years of the first flights.
4 Other Promising Space Tourism Companies
Several other companies are competing with Virgin Galactic to make space tourism a reality in the near future. Of these space tourism companies, four stand out as being particularly promising:
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is one of the best-known companies targeting space tourism, and their ambitions go beyond what Virgin Galactic are proposing. Indeed, SpaceX are hoping to offer space tourism beyond earth orbit, with trips to the moon and back being a short-term objective and trips to Mars being the longer-term goal. More detailed information about SpaceX, you can read in the article “SpaceX Information: Rockets, Spacecrafts and Spaceflights”.
2. Blue Origin
Blue Origin is the competitor to Virgin Galactic when it comes to short-term, sub-orbital space tourism. The American company, founded by Amazon President Jeff Bezos, has designed a space vehicle called New Shepard, and is reportedly going to offer commercial space travel for similar prices to what Virgin Galactic is charging. More detailed information about Blue Origin, you can read in the article “Blue Origin: Information About Blue Origin Space Flights”.
3. Orion Span
Founded by Frank Bunger, Orion Span is an aerospace company, which is based in California. It has extremely ambitious goals for its space tourism offering, including the establishment of the Aurora Space Station in low earth orbit. This will eventually function as a commercial space hotel, where customers will be able to stay. More detailed information about Origin Span, you can read in the article “Orion Span: Information About Orion Span Space Hotel”.
Finally, Boeing have also made in-roads into the space tourism industry through an agreement with NASA. The agreement centres around Boeing creating a spacecraft called the CST-100 Starliner, which is intended to transport people to space stations. As part of the deal, Boeing secured the right to sell a small number of seats to tourists.
Virgin Galactic is widely regarded as the front-runner when it comes to offering space tourism services in the years ahead, and the company has already successfully put its own space plane into outer space. Nevertheless, the business does also face competition from the likes of SpaceX and Blue Origin.