A new partnership has been signed between SpaceX and the space tourism company Space Adventures. SpaceX will send four tourists into the upper orbit of Earth during a mission that will take place in 2022 and have an approximate cost of $100 million.
The space tourism agency has conducted similar ventures in the past, sending eight people to visit the international space station aboard Soyuz rockets offered by the Russian space agency. Dennis Tito was the first customer who visited the ISS, spending a total amount of $20 million for a visit that lasted eight hours in 2001.
SpaceX has been hard at work on the Crew Dragon capsule, which should be used to bring the tourists into space. The spacecraft is being tested before a crewed flight will take place in the near future.
SpaceX to accelerate its space tourism projects
It is essential to mention that the Dragon Crew capsule is one of the most critical projects for NASA since it will allow the agency to bring goods and astronauts to and from the space station without the need to rely on the flight operations conducted by the Russian space agency.
According to a high-ranking Space Adventures employee, the goal of the project is to carry tourists at an altitude that is at least two to three times higher than that at which the ISS orbits. For reference, the ISS orbits at approximately 400 kilometers above the surface of our planet. However, despite the ambitious plans, SpaceX will determine the maximum altitude that can be reached without endangering the crew.
The Dragon Crew capsule was designed as a travel spacecraft for short distances, and it does not feature amenities like sleeping quarters or bathrooms. It was also mentioned that many potential customers have already shown their interest despite the elevated costs of such a trip. Other companies are also preparing to enter the profitable niche of space tourism.