Anybody have the dream of going into space and have some spare pocket change — oh, let’s say around US$55 million?
Well take note, SpaceX plans to send three space tourists on a 10-day trip to the International Space Station sometime in late 2021, The Verge reported.
It’ll use its Falcon 9 rocket and its new Crew Dragon spacecraft, the company announced. This marks the second big space tourism announcement from the company this year, the report said.
The orbital vacation is part of a deal that SpaceX signed with Houston-based startup Axiom Space, which will manage the logistics of the trip for the three private citizens.
While seven private citizens have spent time on the ISS (one of them even went twice), this mission will be the first fully private trip to the ISS, the report said.
The space tourists will spend two days traveling to and from the orbital space station and at least eight days on board, sharing space with the astronauts who work there, the report said.
Tickets will cost around US$55 million, and one seat is already booked, according to The New York Times.
The trip was made possible after NASA announced last year that it would start opening up the ISS to more commercial activities like space tourism, the report said.
SpaceX has spent the last few years building a new version of its Dragon spacecraft that’s rated for human flight as part of a program to send NASA astronauts to the ISS, the report said.
The private spaceflight company recently completed a second major flight test of this new version of Dragon where it demonstrated the ability to escape an exploding rocket. The first flight with NASA astronauts is expected to take place later this year, the report said.
Off-world tourism, in general, is attracting a lot more interest and investment lately now that multiple private companies have demonstrated the ability to reach space.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic recently became the first publicly traded space tourism company, with plans to offer multiple people a few minutes of weightlessness in its massive spaceplane for a few hundred thousand dollars, the report said.
Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ spaceflight company, is promising a similarly brief experience to tourists who ride to space on its New Shepard rocket.
Also, Space Adventures has previously arranged eight orbital trips to the ISS for seven wealthy customers, using Russian Soyuz space capsules.