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Space travel: Are you ready to reach for the stars?

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When space travel becomes more affordable, would you be willing to book a flight and go on a vacation that is literally out of this world?

Once the stuff of science fiction, space travel is becoming closer to reality as space tourism becomes the next frontier in the space race. In fact, you have Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos hoping to one-up his rivals Elon Musk and Richard Branson to become the first billionaire to go to space on board his own rocket. Bezos, a lifelong space enthusiast, isn’t just making his personal dream come true, but also helping his space company Blue Origin prove that space tourism can truly take off sooner than later.

Making space travel a reality

When space travel becomes more affordable, would you be willing to book a flight and go on a vacation that is literally out of this world? Image credit: Blue Origin
With room for six astronauts, Blue Origin’s spacious and pressurized crew capsule is environmentally controlled for comfort and every passenger gets their own window seat. Image credit: Blue Origin

Bezos won’t be the first space tourist. In 2001, American multimillionaire Dennis Tito became the world’s first space tourist, reportedly paying US$20M to spend eight days in orbit as part of a visiting mission to the International Space Station. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration actually refused to take him to space because he wasn’t a trained astronaut, so it was the Russians who facilitated his trip via their Soyuz spacecraft.

Here’s what Tito said in a BBC story during the 10th anniversary of the historic event.

“I hope that tens of thousands of people can experience what I experienced, for 5% of the cost.

“I believe there will be a time, it may take 10 or 20 years, where the cost for flying in orbit might be as low as a million dollars in today’s money.

“A million dollars is certainly a lot of money, but there are many millionaires in the world today, and I know people that would spend their last penny to have this experience.”

Space tourism: the final frontier

Bezos’ Blue Origin, Musk’s SpaceX, and Branson’s Virgin Galactic are the three titans leading the way in privatizing space travel and making space tourism a reality.

And while the cost is prohibitive now, remember that air travel was once also insanely expensive. So there’s hope for us non-billionaires that space tourism will become more mainstream in our lifetime.

For instance, the Discovery Channel has a reality TV show called “Who Wants To Be An Astronaut“, where contestants will vie for the chance to go to the International Space Station for an eight-day mission, courtesy of Axiom Space.

Meanwhile, Space Perspective is offering a cheaper way to reach the stratosphere via space balloons, if you’re willing to shell out US$125,000.

Or if you just want a novel way to experience space, Singapore startup QOSMOSYS has launched its consumer brand QONN8Q, whose initial service allows you to encapsulate precious memories into a bespoke time capsule that will be launched into space.

As a proud member of the organization that the late Carl Sagan co-founded, The Planetary Society, I believe space exploration should be for everyone. While we should take care of our planet, this pale blue dot that serves as our home, it’s also true that our future lies in the stars.

One day, humanity will become a multi-planet species. Because it’s the only way we’ll survive.

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