By Douglas Helm | 18 seconds ago
It looks like the four space tourists who recently went to the International Space Station are going to have to extend their space vacations a bit longer. Earlier this month, a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft successfully launched three passengers and a former NASA astronaut into orbit. This was the first time that an entirely private crew financed by private companies went to the ISS. The mission was organized by SpaceX and Axiom Space and was intended to last ten days. It appears that the mission has now been extended to about 12 days.
Fortunately, it seems that the private crew aboard the International Space Station is not too affected by the development. In fact, during a livestreamed event where the crew answered questions from children at the NASA Space Center in Houston, they mentioned that they would be willing to go to the Moon next. While the Moon is a much larger and more expensive target than the International Space Station, this is certainly the path that space tourism is headed. Crew members aboard the current mission spent a whopping $55 million per person to head to the ISS, so the cost of the trip to the Moon would likely be much higher. Also, there is currently no spacecraft ready to take civilians to the Moon. So it looks like these eager tourists will just have to enjoy the extra two days of space they’ll get.
As of now, the private International Space Station crew is scheduled to undock on Tuesday and land in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. A successful landing will mark the end of the first fully private, privately funded voyage and help demonstrate the possibilities of the rapidly developing space tourism industry. Axiom Space, one of the companies behind this mission, is even interested in developing a space station of its own. While visiting the ISS must be one of the best experiences out there, the station is designed for research, observation and exploration. Presumably, the Axiom station will be designed with tourism in mind, so it will be quite a different experience than the ISS. Hopefully, they won’t be charging $55 million a ride by then.
NASA has already approved Axiom for its next private space mission, so clearly the collaboration between the government agency, SpaceX, and the growing space tourism company is something that will continue to grow in the future. With SpaceX continually developing more feasible means of space travel with more affordable production, years of research and technology from NASA, and the money and innovation that Axiom brings to the table, the future of commercial spaceflight and space hotels may be brighter. sooner than we all think. .
SpaceX, for its part, continues to test and develop the Starship spacecraft, which is designed to carry crew and cargo. This is a much larger and more powerful ship than the Dragon and will presumably be used to carry human tourists and astronauts to space stations, the Moon, and even Mars. So if your dream is to visit space, you may find it soon, if you have the money to cover it.