Monday, February 25, 2008

Space Adventures LTD

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a few days; I had this weird cold that hasn't been bad enough to keep me from working, but has been just annoying enough to keep me from doing much else. We still seem to be short on any interesting space tourism news, so I'll profile the next company on my list, Space Adventures Ltd.

Space Adventures is currently the only space tourism company actively getting tourists into space. It was founded in 1998 with the express goal of facilitating commercial human space travel. They accomplished that goal in 2001 when, in cooperation with the Russian Space Agency, Roskosmos, they sent Dennis Tito, the first space tourist, to the International Space Station.

These initial space flights cost $20,000,000, and consisted of six months of cosmonaut training, followed by launch on board a Russian Soyuz spacecraft (usually along with a NASA astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut), topped off with a six-day stay on board the International Space Station. To date, there have been five of these space tourists, and two more are expected this year.

The price for one of these space flights has now risen to $30-40,000,000. However, they have recently added a spacewalk option to their list of services. For about an extra $15,000,000 and an extra month of training, tourists will be able to go on a 1.5 hour spacewalk and spend an extra two days aboard the station.

Those are not the only services they currently offer. Space Adventures also offers zero-gravity parabolic plane flights for about $5500, or $8000 if you want to go with an astronaut. Also, they will take you through cosmonaut training for anywhere between $8000-$60,000 depending on how in-depth you want the training to be.

Space Adventures also has some huge future plans. They are currently in the process of designing and creating a sub-orbital spacecraft of their own called the Explorer. They plan on offering sub-orbital flights on the Explorer from spaceports currently in the works in the United Arab Emirates and Singapore. The flights are planned to cost a mere $102,000, the current lowest announced price for spaceflight by any company.

Along with their suborbital flights, Space Adventures is currently planning a circumlunar flight, tentatively called Deep Space Explorations Alpha. The announced date of this flight is 2009, although that date was announced a couple of years ago, and there has been little specific news on these plans since. This flight is planned to take two tourists on a journey around the far side of the moon and back to Earth. The two available seats are on sale for $100,000,000 each. So far, there haven't been any announced takers.

So that's about it! As of now, Space Adventures is definitely the most successful space tourism company out there. I look forward to seeing what the future holds, and whether their plans pan out.

Progress: 3.24%  Flight Time: 0:04:51

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