Celebrity super-couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, are among those celebrities keen to blast off into space simply for the fun of it, having already booked their flight on one of Virgin Atlantic’s first space missions, along with the likes of Ashton Kutcher, Stephen Hawking and Paris Hilton. The private space agency, created and owned by British entrepreneur Richard Branson, has currently sold 500 tickets worth US $200,000 each, and ticket sales are expected to go up as flights begin later this year.
Back in 2001, American businessman Dennis Tito became the world’s first space tourist as he blasted off into the unknown aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket, arriving safely at the International Space Station. The next year it was the turn of South African businessman Mark Shuttleworth, who boarded the same rocket also bound for the International Space Station. 2005 saw American businessman Greg Olsen become the third tourist, and the following year saw Anoushes Ansari become the first female space tourist.
Market research appears to show that the public has a growing desire to venture into space, and that those who can afford it would be willing to pay a substantial amount in order to do it. With many arguing that space travel is simply a natural progression for the tourist industry, perhaps the next few decades will see more of us travelling into space, making the whole industry an extremely lucrative one?
Clearly many people think so, as companies are already planning to build entire orbital cities within the next couple of decades, and according to their vision statement, Space Adventures plans to blast ‘tens of thousands of people in space over the next 10-15 years and beyond, both orbital and suborbital, around the moon and back, from spaceports both on Earth and in space, to and from private space stations, and aboard dozens of different vehicles….’ Hilton Hotels has made the public their interest in the industry, and has discussed the possibility of building or co-funding a space hotel.
But with a one-week stay in space costing you anything upwards of US $20 million, surely space tourism will only ever be available to the world’s wealthiest travellers? Well, some say not. Some say that with the help of space tourism, an infrastructure could be built in space which could see launch costs decreasing dramatically. At the moment, vehicles capable of carrying space-bound tourists are the space shuttle and the Russian Soyez, both of which are incredibly inefficient with each craft needing millions of pounds of propellant in order to be able to launch into space.
So what if it came true and space travel were no longer the exclusive domain of the rich and famous? Would you book a flight and have yourself blasted off into the cosmos? Or are you like me, and wouldn’t dream of embarking on such a dangerous journey, even if it were free?!
Take a second or two to follow the link and vote in our Facebook poll, or if Facebook isn’t your bag, simply place your vote in the comments section below, we look forward to hearing from you!
Love: If money were no object, I’d happily blast off into space for an ‘out of this world’ adventure!
Loathe: No amount of money could persuade me to go into space; I’m happy exploring my own planet!
Maybe: If Brad and Angelina come back alive, then I could be persuaded!