On Tuesday, Elon Musk’s company SpaceX has signed a partnership deal with Axiom Space to send three tourists along with a commander to the International Space Station (ISS) on one of its first-ever private trips within over a decade on among of its Crew Dragon capsules by late 2021.
Axiom chief executive officer Michael Suffredini shared that the flight “will represent a watershed moment in the march toward universal and routine access to space.”
Although there was no mention of its price, it is speculated to be over $100 million, based on the estimates in the cost of launching a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket being around $60 million, plus the cost attached to building a new capsule. By this, the ticket for each tourist to pay for the space trip is likely to cost tens of millions of dollars.
So far, 8 space tourists have gone to the ISS on Russian Soyuz rockets with the company Space Adventures. Dennis Tito was the first tourist in 2001 who paid for an eight-hour stay on the ISS with a hefty amount of $20 million. The latest one, in 2009, was Guy Laliberte who is the founder of Cirque du Soleil.
And quite recently, with the partnership between Space Adventures and SpaceX, they’ll be aiming for a bit nearly infinity and beyond into orbit by the participating four tourists, in which the mission is projected for late 2021 at the earliest and sometime in the future 2022 at the latest.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin are among other companies involved in space tourism. Both of these companies are developing vessels to transfer tourists just beyond the border of space, up to 62 miles. Tickets for Virgin Galactic space tourism was initially priced at $250,000 when they first went on sale in the mid-2000s.
Simultaneously elsewhere, Boeing is undergoing development of a crew capsule called Starliner that also intends to transport United States astronauts to the ISS. Boeing plans on sending tourists into space, but its development is delayed by major glitches that led to the early termination of an uncrewed test flight in December.