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It isn’t exactly a steal, but then, it is a trip to space we’re talking about here.
The arrival on the market of space tourism companies such as Virgin Galactic and SpaceX could bring the price of a ticket on board one of these flights to as little as £7,000 within the next twenty years, a veteran astronaut claims.
Dr Donald Thomas, who took part in four missions on the Columbia and Discovery shuttles, told the Times that by 2030 space tourism would no longer be the preserve of the super-rich.
‘I expect that in the next couple of years Virgin Galactic will begin their sub-orbital space excursions, allowing tourists the chance to see the Earth from 85 miles up, viewing the curvature of the Earth and the total blackness of the sky in space,’ he said.
‘Prices for these trips are approximately $220,000 (£153,000). While still expensive, the trips are much more affordable than paying the Russians $65m for a trip to the ISS (International Space Station). I also expect that SpaceX, Boeing and a few other companies will follow when tourist trips to and from the ISS are firmly established.
‘It is difficult to predict future prices for these trips, but I would anticipate within a decade or two prices will drop to the $10,000 (£7,000) to $20,000 range.’
A seat on one of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic flights costs $250,000 (£170,000). Some 700 people, including Hollywood A-listers and chart-topping singers, have already bought tickets.
Despite a number of setbacks, including the fatal crash of of SpaceShip Two craft, Dr Thomas believes the company will bounce back.
‘Once the needed redesigns are completed, tested, and the safety of the system verified, commercial flights will commence,’ he said.
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