Space emerges as new tourist destination for self-funded individuals

Space emerges as new tourist destination for self-funded individuals
Space Tourism: Pic-Courtesy NASA

New Delhi: After exotic and fascinating places on the earth, the little explored space is emerging as new destination for tourists. A few past successful missions in space for tourism have promoted various companies to venture into space tourism and offer the visitors once in a lifetime experience. As it is a new area of tourism, the cost factor remains a major deterrent for the people.

The way new age industrialists are craving to explore the potential of tourism outside the earth’s ambit, it’s likely that cost for journey and stay might come down in the next few decades. Currently, there are five firms, which have launched the space expedition for tourism and are planning to send another batch of tourists in years to come.

The counterview

Scientists, however, not keen on exploring space for commercial tourism, lest it could have a long-lasting impact on atmosphere of stratosphere. They fear that frequent movement of rockets, using heavy fuels, would pollute the stratosphere with obnoxious gases. The toxic gases released by rockets or spaceships remain undissolved for years. Spaceships usually emit Carbon Dioxides about 100 times the normal flights.

Moreover, the scientists warn that the immune system of those going in space gets compromised owing to various types of radiation and absence of gravitational force. They observed that people, who generally remained in specially designed capsules, could be vulnerable for loneliness and depression.  Those staying in space for a longer time could develop different types of physiological and psychological problems.

Space tourism holds massive business prospects

Unfazed by the scientists’ warning, various companies of the world are exploring to tap huge financial potential in the space tourism. Industrial experts have foreseen $55.50 crore market in space tourism in the next eight years (2030). As per the German firm Statista, the space tourism market was found to be around $38.5 crore in 2021. The space business is set to rise to $46 crore in 2023 and further go up to $47.5 crore in the next couple of years.

The first space tourists

An American Billionaire engineer Dennis Tito was the first individual to go to the space as a tourist in 2001. He had paid $2 crore to a Russian company to take him to the space on his 60th birthday. In 2002, Mark Shuttleworth became the first South African to travel to space as a space tourist. Anousheh Ansari was the first Iranian to travel in space in 2006. She was the fourth overall self-funded space tourist, who spent around $20 Million for the visit.

Space emerges as new tourist destination for self-funded individuals
Pic Courtesy: NASA

Five firms keen to exploit space tourism

Those aspiring to go on space for tourism may look for approaching five firms, Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, Blue Origin, Orion Spacecraft (of NASA) and Boeing. They have opened bookings for the space tourism. The cost of travel, however, depends up on the companies and facilities they offer on-board passengers.

Virgin Galactic, a US-based company shot into fame in space tourism after it took a British Billionaire industrialist Richard Branson in to the space on July 11, 2021. He went up to 85 km above the earth and stayed for around 4-5 minutes in the zero gravity region.

SpaceX, a company owned by Tesla owner Elon Musk had sent four people to the International Space Station (ISS) situated at the height of 420km under its Axiom Mission. Each individual had to foot the bill of $5.50 crore for the journey.

The Blue Origin, owned by Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, had also sent four people in to the space during its first mission in July 2021. Bezos was among the four space tourists.

The Orion Spacecraft of NASA has proposed to set up an affordable luxury hotel in space for tourists. As per the current market status, each traveller are deemed to pay ₹75 crore for a 12-day stay in its space hotel, named Aurora Station.

The Boeing is also trying to venture into the space tourism by launching its most advanced flight, Starliner Spaceflight in the next few months. To start with, it will send its maiden cargo flight into the space without crew. Up on successful trial, the company will launch space travel for individuals with specialised crew members.

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