Space Adventures is currently the first and
only commercial space tourism company to actually have sent
tourists beyond Earth's atmosphere. To date, Space Adventures
has sent five tourists to the International Space Station
(ISS) for a reported cost of $20 million each. The price is
now up in the $30 - $40 million range.
The tourists that Space Adventures has sent aloft include
Dennis Tito (May 2001), Mark
Shuttleworth (April 2002), Greg
Olsen (October 2005), Anousheh
Ansari (September 2006) and Charles
Simonyi (April 2007).
The Space Adventures tourists traveled aboard a Russian Soyuz
capsule and their adventure lasted between 7 and 10 days.
Besides flights to the ISS, Space Adventures is also developing
excursions to the moon and suborbital space, space walks and
also worldwide spaceports. Space Adventures is capable of
carrying one tourist every six months to the ISS on what it
calls a Russian "taxi missions", which piggybacks
onto a set of cosmonauts swapping crew, with one crew returning
Space Adventures is also capable of creating a customized
trip to the ISS that isn't part of the regularly scheduled
6-month intervals. For instance, instead of the regular 7
- 10 day trip aboard the ISS, Space Adventures is also offering
a 16-day trip complete with space walk.
What's at stake here is the chance to become the first private
citizen to walk in space. Potential spacewalkers will train
in Star City, Russia at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training
Center. Besides the traditional six months of training for
the mission, the spacewalk training will require an additional
The spacewalk itself will last for approximately 90-minutes
inside a Russian, Orlan spacesuit. The cost for this once-in-a-lifetime
adventure is $45 - $55 million.
For those who think the ISS is a little too close to home
and would like to venture farther out, there is always the
first Space Adventures trip to the moon that will cost $100
million. If you're a Pink Floyd fan, here's your chance to
finally travel to the dark side of the moon, as Space Adventures
is offering some wealthy tourist the chance for a circumlunar
mission that starts off on the Soyuz spacecraft, rendezvous'
with a booster rocket and continues to where few men have
gone before. This is an opportunity to see an Earthrise over
the moon's surface.
Now, for those a little less adventurous (and rich) Space
Adventures is offering a trip into suborbital space aboard
its C-21 suborbital vehicle for a mere $102,000, which includes
$4,000 in cancellation insurance. At 62 miles above the Earth's
surface, tourists will experience five minutes of weightlessness
and unique views of the Earth's surface that only a few astronauts
and satellites have seen.
Now just how does Space Adventures plan to propel willing
tourists into low Earth orbit (LEO)? Space Adventures is building
spaceports in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
The Singapore spaceport will be complete with space camp
for adults and children. Adult tourists will be able to train
like astronauts in simulators and experience weightlessness
and even simulated space walks. For those who don't want to
go all the way to LEO they can experience weightlessness in
high altitude Parabolic flights aboard an Aero L-39 Albatross
The spaceport in the United Arab Emirates will be an hour
outside of Dubai. Flying rich oil sheiks into space may just
be an untapped market. Then again, perhaps we will see Michael
Jackson, escaping the paparazzi and taking a thriller of a
ride there as well.
All kidding aside, though, Space Adventures, which was co-founded
by Eric C. Anderson in 1997, is the leading space tourism
company to date with more commercial flights to its credit
than any other company. Expect to see Space Adventures continue
to hold this lead for many years to come.