Passengers would spend up to five days hurtling through Earth’s orbit while huddled inside a gumdrop-shaped spacecraft that measures about 13-feet across.
The next step is to find wealthy individuals to pay for the flight. A Space Adventures spokesperson said the price of the trip will be “in the range as other orbital spaceflight opportunities,” which have have been priced in the tens of millions of dollars.
NASA plans to use both companies’ spacecraft to keep the International Space Station fully staffed with professionally trained astronauts. But Boeing and SpaceX will still own and operate their vehicles and will be allowed to use them for other types of missions, including space tourism.
It should be noted, however, that plans to fly wealthy thrill-seekers into space are frequently altered or abandoned.
Last year, for example, a company called Bigelow Aerospace said it would organize trips to the International Space Station using SpaceX’s Crew Dragon. The company planned to sell tickets for about $52 million a piece but those plans were later canceled.
Space Adventures remains the only company to have coordinated tourism flights to Earth’s orbit. The Virginia-based company has worked with Russia to use its Soyuz spacecraft to fly ultra-wealthy individuals to the International Space Station. The tourists included entrepreneur and space investor Anousheh Ansari and Cirque du Soleil co-founder Guy Laliberté.
Those missions were priced at around $20 million each.
The space industry could soon be headed for a tourism revolution if SpaceX and Boeing make good on their plans to take tourists to orbit.
SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, Gwynne Shotwell, said in a statement Tuesday that the company is “pleased to work with the Space Adventures’ team” on a Crew Dragon tourism trip. “This historic mission will forge a path to making spaceflight possible for all people who dream of it,” she said.