Inspiriation4 has officially concluded after a three-day-long trip this past Saturday, September 18, 2021, at 7:06 p.m. (EDT). Inspiration4 was a commercial, tourist space flight enacted by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, a United States-based company. This exploration has caught the eyes of many other countries and companies, as recent spaceflight has become an international news staple in the past few months. We’ll cover the recent space news, how companies are reacting, and what the next big plans are.
For Inspiration4 and Elon Musk, commercial spaceflight is not a new concept. SpaceX has been planning this type of travel for years. To read more about these plans, another globalEDGE blog covers them here. It is now expected that the Sub-Orbital Transportation and Space Tourism markets are estimated to reach $2.58 billion in 2031, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.15% during 2021–2031.
Two months prior to this mission, two multi-billionaires also decided to try their hand at space travel. Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson took small trips themselves into space, but those seem to be mostly recreational during this period, with no business strategies currently being implemented. Mr. Isaacman, though not nearly as well-publicized, recently became the first person to recreationally travel to space with no professional astronaut onboard through his company Shift4 Payments. Next month, Russia is planning on launching an actress and film director into space as well to shoot a feature-length film.
While tourism in the aerospace market is incredibly expensive, these companies are hoping to lower the costs over the next few decades. Through the experiences of Inspiriation4, we now understand that normal people can adapt to space if they train appropriately leading up to the experience.
As always, this is a global phenomenon with a serious wealth cap. Most civilians will not be able to go up into space for multiple more decades. However, the possibility continues to be there. Even though right now, space travel is blocked for even incredibly rich individuals, the science behind it and the possibility of it could evolve into the use of commercial space flight on average aircraft. SpaceX is already considering the possibility of 30-minute, cross-world space flights. About 60 years ago, the idea of someone in space was a simple fantasy. In the next 60 years, we may see civilians using space flight for commercial uses. This is a market that will explode the moment that costs are able to be mitigated and new technology becomes available to lower training thresholds.