SpaceX Is Officially Sending Tourists to Space

Rodiano Bonacci
Febbraio 19, 2020

SpaceX has a new partner for commercial private astronaut flights aboard its Dragon spacecraft: Space Adventures, a private space tourism company that has already launched private astronauts including Anousheh Ansari, Guy Laliberté and Mark Shuttleworth to space.

SpaceX signed the deal with the Washington-based Space Adventures, which served as an intermediary to send eight space tourists to the orbiting space laboratory via Russian Soyuz rockets. At the same time, Boeing is also developing a crew capsule called Starliner, also with the intention of transporting U.S. astronauts to the ISS. The company said earlier this year it will conduct the first crewed test of its Crew Dragon capsule, sending NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS sometime between May and June. Boeing is working on a rival capsule, called Starliner, which has faced various problems during uncrewed testing.

"The price of the mission will not be disclosed, but will be in the range as other orbital spaceflight opportunities", a spokesperson for Space Adventures told The Register.

"This will provide up to four individuals with the opportunity to break the world altitude record for private citizen spaceflight and see planet Earth the way no one has since the Gemini program".

The total duration of the mission is said to be up to five days, Space Adventures revealed in a promotional video.

If you don't have that kind of money, there are still options for you: Zero-G flights cost just a few thousand dollars, and Virgin Galactic is supposed to begin taking tourists to space for $US250,000 ($374,000) a piece. The next batch of spacefaring private citizens will join the ranks of Microsoft co-founder Charles Simonyi and Anousheh Ansari, the first female space tourist.

The first of these was Dennis Tito, who paid $20 million (£15 million) for an eight hour stay on the ISS in 2001.

Unlike space tourism to the ISS, which required six months of training in Moscow, the next mission will need four weeks of participation in the US.

They will instead fly up in the Crew Dragon craft blasted off via a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, enjoy some time in orbit, before returning to Earth.

The date and length of the mission have not been disclosed, but Space Adventures' president Eric Anderson said it would be "capable of reaching twice the altitude of any prior civilian astronaut mission or space station visitor".

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