Commercial space travel might sound like an idea from a science fiction movie to many, but truth is it is about to become a reality in the next few years!
What is space tourism?
Space tourism refers to the general public visiting space for recreational or leisure purposes. These trips will originally be short sub-orbital fights. There are companies currently working on developing spaceports and spacecrafts. These projects are well underway and are scheduled to be completed within the next two or three years.
Phases of space tourism:
The first phase once the first craft is launched will target the wealthier among the society. Tickets will be expensive - between $90,000 and $400,000 depending on the company. Therefore, there will be few customers undertaking the adventure. Even so, Virgin Galactic has reported that more than 400 customers have already purchased tickets even though their spaceship is not even complete yet.
The next phase will see a growing demand and as well as supply. More companies will get involved into the business which will in turn lower prices for the trip. The last stage will be mass production. Ticket prices will fall even more as space travel becomes more common. According to a BBC article, within the next 20 years everyone will know someone who has been to space.
Looking even further into the future...
Let's face it - if you are paying thousands of dollars for a trip, you would like it to last more than half an hour. What is the next step then? Space hotels offering a view of the earth and space? What about space activities? There will definitely be new possibilities given the lack of gravity in space.
Imagining a hotel in space with people floating around seems quite futuristic, but if companies succeed in creating reliable spacecrafts according to schedule, then space tourism is well on its way. From an economical point of view, it might be just what the world needs. It is a whole new and different sector than what we know. Therefore, it will create more jobs - from pilot trainers to architects and designers. The possibilities are endless!