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SYFY WIRE Space tourism

SpaceX hoping to send tourists higher up into space than ever

By Elizabeth Rayne
SpaceX Crew Dragon

While the space race to get to the Moon continues, another cosmic competition is going on that may have not gotten as much attention.

Space tourism is going to be the big business of the future. Already, companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, Boeing, and Virgin Galactic have been trying to attract Earthlings with vacation prospects that are a level up from a cruise to the Bahamas. Now SpaceX is partnering with space tourism company Space Adventures to send those of us who aren’t astronauts higher than we could ever imagine.

“Creating unique and previously impossible opportunities for private citizens to experience space is why Space Adventures exists,” said Eric Anderson, chairman of Space Adventures.

Space Adventures was impressed by the reusable SpaceX Crew Dragon pulling off its first demo mission to the ISS last year, and successfully testing out its launch escape system more recently. Now SpaceX and Space Adventures have agreed to join forces to give four private citizens a view of Earth that no one has seen since NASA’s Gemini program, which was a prelude to the Apollo missions. This will be the first time tourists orbit Earth in a mission powered entirely by American technology.

“This historic mission will forge a path to making spaceflight possible for all people who dream of it, and we are pleased to work with the Space Adventures’ team on the mission,” said SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell.

Maybe “all people who dream of it” is a bit of an overstatement there. Those tickets won’t come cheap, presumably, though no price tag has been revealed as of yet. Space Adventures and SpaceX need to find four people brave enough — and, uh, loaded enough — to take off. These tourists will board the fully autonomous Crew Dragon capsule, which will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket (also reusable, the same type of rocket that will fly NASA astronauts to the ISS). They will take these passengers twice as high as anyone else who has either gone on board the ISS or on another civilian mission, breaking the "world altitude record for private citizen spaceflight," according to Space Adventures' release.

After reading this, you might have second thoughts about planning any more vacations on Earth.

(via Space Adventures)