Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The myriad flavors of spaceflight

The best Earth views can be had for $20 million (plus $15 million for a space walk) which is actually getting cheaper since Russia has not changed the price in the five years that they have been offering space tourist visits to the International Space Station. So far, there have been three paying space tourists and more are scheduled including X Prize donor Anousheh Ansari. The rigorous medical examination and training for orbital flight is detailed here.

If one can be content with suborbital flight and waiting a few years, there are more options, the cost is dramatically cheaper and the six month cosmonaut training is obviated. There are many potential providers of suborbital flight, including Space Adventures (2007-2008 timeframe), Incredible Adventures aboard the Rocketplane, and Virgin Galactic via Spaceship Company ships to be built by Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites. The Virgin Galactic suborbital flights are $20,000 and are due to depart later this decade from a $200 million spaceport to be created in New Mexico.

Zero gravity flights are available right now from a variety of service providers including Space Adventures, Incredible Adventures and X Prize Foundation founder Peter Diamandis' Zero Gravity Corporation, who flies 15 parabola rides for $3750 out of Florida, San Diego and San Jose.

It's great that so many people, both astronauts and cosmonauts (400 to date) and private citizens are having an opportunity for space-related experiences. Hopefully this increasing activity will continue to raise interest, support and involvement in space, astronomy and science in general.


Omnitir said...

Hey, nice blog.

I agree, it’s great to see space tourism taking off and it appears that interest in space is rapidly growing – which should result in considerable benefits for civilization in the years ahead.

Re. Virgin Galactic, aren’t the tickets going to cost around $200,000 not $20,000? Still considerably chepar then $20 million of course :)

Oh, and also re. privatised space flight news: http://omnitir.blogspot.com/2006/07/bigelow-aerospace-launches-orbiting.html