Many of us have wondered what it might be like to look down on the planet we call home and a select few have enjoyed that privileged view but the opportunity to enjoy space travel is slowly becoming a reality.
Let’s be honest, you will need to have some very deep pockets to be able to pay for a seat on the spacecraft that takes you into space and the cost of that travel is well beyond many of us, at the moment.
But is this the decade where more of us will get that once in a lifetime opportunity to call ourselves a space traveler?
Space exploration- a life-changing moment
There are already commercial space companies preparing to take tourists into space, such as Virgin and Elon Musk’s company SpaceX, but if you needed any further incentive to try and book a seat on one of these flights you only have to hear what the majority of astronauts have to say about the experience.
For example, NASA’s veteran astronaut Don Thomas describes the moment you look out of the window as an experience that changes your thinking about the planet forever.
He also holds the opinion that space travel could cost as little as $15,000 within the next decade, putting the experience within a similar price bracket as a luxury trip to somewhere exotic on earth.
The groundwork is already underway
There is a gradual build-up to regular commercial flights that are already taking shape with Virgin Galactic offering sub-orbital flights that deliver an incredible zero-gravity experience that also gives you a unique view of the curvature of the earth as part of the deal.
In the meantime, SpaceX has been busy sending supplies to the International Space Station and will be sending crews in preparation for receiving paying customers.
Once the infrastructure is in place and the cost starts to come down it should start to become more affordable as time goes by.
Technology will help bring the cost down
SpaceX has developed a shuttle that has the capacity to transport 100 passengers into space for about $60,000 per person, based on how much it will cost using current fuel technology.
That makes it the sort of price that is beyond many of us, who couldn’t justify spending what could be your life savings to get a view of earth, no matter how spectacular that experience might be.
However, the next generation of a spaceship after the current SpaceX BFR model is expected to benefit from more advanced propulsion techniques. Once a way is found to improve fuel efficiency it will create more space on the ship for passengers rather than fuel supplies and that is when the possibilities of commercial space travel for the masses start to become a realistic aspiration.
Packing more tourists into each spaceship will lower the cost per passenger and that’s the moment when more would-be space tourists will get the chance to turn their dreams into a reality.