Space tourism: How much does it cost?

Space tourism is a blossoming new industry. What is the price to become a ‘vacationaut’?

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Space tourism is a blossoming new industry. How much does a ‘space-cation’ cost?

In 2001, the first ever space tourist, Dennis Tito, bought his way into an 8-day Russian mission to the International Space Station. The trip set him back a whopping $20 million. Since then, six vacationauts have launched into space. These excursions ranged from 8-15 days and cost $20-40 million. The last space tourist was in 2009.

Today, there a more options for space tourists:

Virgin Galactic is schedule to launch next year and offers a 2.5-hr space tour for $250,000. The fee includes 3 days of training at Spaceport America. Space Adventures offers 10-day trips to the International Space Station for about $50 million. For those serious space enthusiasts, a trip around the moon will set you back $150 million.

Thinking about funding your own space program? The average cost of a space shuttle is around $1.7 billion and the cost per launch is $450 million, not to mention the cost of 1.6 million pounds of liquid propellants (that’s over 800,000 gallons!).

Another consideration besides the cost of space tourisms is its impact on global warming. Each launch releases half a ton of black carbon into the atmosphere, which could seriously accelerate global warming if space tourism becomes commonplace.

So, if you had that kind of dough, would you pay to go into space?

Marie-Elizabeth Barabas

Managing Editor, Springer Nature

I'm an interdisciplinary neuroscientist with a research background in peripheral sensory/pain research, retinal development, and stem cell research. As the Managing Editor of npj Microgravity, my role is to assist the editorial process, implement editorial policies, and promote the journal, its articles, and the community. I also attend conferences and meetings to develop a relationship with our readers, authors, and editors. If you see me at a conference, feel free to introduce yourself.