Russia is planning on making regular launches to the International Space Station for wealthy tourists willing to pay top dollar for a trip to space. The newly proposed package also involves spacewalks, a first for space tourism. If all that sounds very exciting, wait until you hear the price tag — as much as $100 million a pop. Yikes!
Vladimir Solntsev, CEO of Russian space company Energia, broke the news recently speaking to Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda. Energia’s head says that his company wants to serve a market that’s eager to travel and enjoy life in space. Tourists will be able to “go out on a spacewalk and make a film, (or) a video clip,” he said.
Energia is working on a new module called NEM-2 which will be able to carry four to six people. It’s a luxurious accommodation by astronaut’s standards or anything they’ve been used to up until now. Solntsev says the module will be fitted with comfortable cabins, two toilets, and internet access.
He gave a tentative launch date for 2019, adding that American aerospace giant Boeing expressed interest to become a partner.
The Russian CEO estimates sending five to six tourists to space a year, with each trip lasting up to 10 days at the International Space Station.
The first space tourist was Dennis A. Tito, a California multimillionaire, who shelved $20 million for a ride and spent eight days in the International Space Station with two cosmonauts in 2001. Guy Laliberte, the founder of Canada’s Cirque du Soleil, paid more than $35 million for 12 days at the ISS in 2009.
In total, 7 space tourists have made 8 space flights. This a rapidly growing sector with many private companies, particularly Western ones such as Virgin Galactic, in competition to offer the most comfortable and affordable solution.
Some of you might think there’s no chance you’ll ever get to space — not with these prices. But that’s the thing — these prices won’t stay this outrageously high forever. Not too long ago, owning an automobile was also prohibitively expensive, so was a ride on an airplane. Innovations like reusable rockets and new capsule designs mean that someday, a trip to space will be within the reach of those with more modest fortunes.