Would You Like to be a Space Tourist?

There is getting away from it all and soon there will be opportunities for getting 240 miles above it all. That’s right. Soon you can be a space tourist.

View of sunrise over the earth--a view you can have if you'll be a space tourist

The First Orbital Vacation

SpaceX says tourists will ride its rockets late this year or early next.

SpaceX is the corporation behind the first successful commercial launch to the International Space Station. They are working with the space tourism company, Space Adventures.

For an undisclosed price, up to four tourists will ride the Falcon 9 rocket and the Crew Dragon spacecraft to orbit the earth three times at about 250 miles up.

On the Space Adventures website they also offer a flight to within a few hundred kilometers of the moon, a visit to the ISS, and a spacewalk. Cool, huh?

Private Citizens in Space

Image of three men onboard space station, one is the first private citizen ins space, would you be a space tourist
Public Domain image from NASA
Dennis Tito is on the left.

Seven private citizens have had adventures in space with the help of Space Adventures. Each of them spent more than 20 million each and a lot of time training before their flights.

American Dennis Tito blasted off from Kazakhstan on April 28, 2001, and spent nearly 8 days on the Russian space station. 

English/South African businessman Mark Shuttleworth flew Soyuz Flight TM-34 on April 25, 2002.

Gregory Olsen launched onboard Soyuz TMA-7 on October 1, 2005 and took part in a research program for the European Space Agency (ESA) onboard the ISS.

Iran-born, US emigrant, Anousheh Ansari lifted off on Soyuz TMA-9 on September 18, 2006. She conducted experiments onboard the ISS for the ESA.

Hungarian Charles Simonyi flew twice. He started a fourteen-day trip on April 7, 2007, onboard the Soyuz TMA-10. And he returned to space in March 2009, Simonyi onboard Soyuz TMA-14.

On October 12, 2008, onboard Soyuz TMA-13, British-American Richard Garriott was the sixth private citizen in space. And Canadian Guy Laliberte, the seventh and last citizen in space, took the Soyuz TMA-16 on September 30, 2009.

Space Hotels

There are several organizations that are working on plans for hotels in space. Each offers an experience of a lifetime.

Orion Span is another Houston-based startup that plans to open a space hotel called Aurora Station in 2022. This hotel would house four guests.

Design with tourism in mind, Aurora Station will feature a spacious interior to move around, large observation windows, personal sleeping quarters, great food, and plenty of activities to stay busy. Guests will build friendships that last a lifetime, and experience something that will change their lives forever.

Orion Span

The Gateway Foundation is planning a Von Braun class station. A wheel design, it promises to be a resort level vacation destination and spaceport. We’re not to the point of launching this one yet, but some project it will be open in the 2030s.

Would You Like to be a Space Tourist?

If money weren’t an issue, would you be a space tourist? If I were younger, I surely would.

Beyond the Imagination of the Earthbound

Did you watch Launch America? This weekend’s successful launch and docking of the Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon is the culmination of a lot of dreams-come-true. We’ve got a long way to go before commercial space travel will be available to everyone. But we will get there. What we will discover in space travel and exploration is beyond the imagination of the Earthbound.

Image of the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying Crew Dragon on May 30,2020. An event once beyond the imagination of the earthbound

We cannot predict the new forces, powers, and discoveries that will be disclosed to us when we reach the other planets and set up new laboratories in space. They are as much beyond our vision today as fire or electricity would be beyond the imagination of a fish.

–Arthur C. Clarke, “Space and the Spirit of Man”

Or is it?

Imagination Kindled

The first known story about flying in space may have been the Hindu epic Ramayana (5th to 4th century BC). But most likely humans have dreamed of space travel since they first saw the moon and stars.

There was a lot of dreaming before Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin launched into space on April 12, 1961.

To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit.

–Stephen Hawking

And even more dreaming before the first human stepped onto the moon.

That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.

Neil Armstrong

The sight of Armstrong’s bounding steps inspired many to go into the sciences, to aspire to be an astronaut. Each space flight and astronaut inspired others. Inspired Elon Musk and his team to create a commercial spacecraft.

Are you paying attention? There’s a lesson here.

Be an Astronaut

A big dream like going to the moon can feel daunting. Hard. Too much to learn. Too expensive. And overwhelming. But big dreams—the one that’s beyond the imagination of the Earthbound—can become a reality.

What everyone in the astronaut corps shares in common is not gender or ethnic background, but motivation, perseverance, and desire — the desire to participate in a voyage of discovery.

Ellen Ochoa

Ochoa’s ingredients, motivation, perseverance, and a desire to take part in a voyage of discovery, aren’t only for astronauts. These are the things you need for your dream. It won’t be easy. But it will be a voyage of discovery. There are so many things for you to discover in pursuit of a dream.

Worth Doing

Space travel is life-enhancing, and anything that’s life-enhancing is worth doing. It makes you want to live forever.

–Ray Bradbury, Playboy, 1996

Anything that’s life-enhancing is worth doing. Is your dream life-enhancing? It doesn’t have to be as big as going to the moon or Mars. If it is life-enhancing for you—that’s enough. Go for it!

Beyond the Imagination of the Earthbound

Image of the first footprint on the moon which was once beyond the imagination of the Earthbound
First Footprint on the Moon, NASA, Marshall, 7/69

I know the sky is not the limit because there are footprints on the Moon — and I made some of them!

– Buzz Aldrin

Your dream may be beyond the imagination of the Earthbound, but don’t let their lack of imagination limit you. Elon Musk and his team worked for nine years to make this launch happen. You will work hard, too. But follow your dream anyway. The proof that it’s possible is in the footprints on the moon.