March 7, 2020
Elon Musk's company wants to send three tourists to the International Space Station in 2021.
The Space X Crew Dragon capsule that will transport tourists to the ISS
The American space company SpaceX announced Thursday a partnership intended to send next year three tourists to the International Space Station (ISS), which has not been done for more than ten years. Elon Musk's company has signed an agreement with Axiom Space to give it seats on board its Crew Dragon capsule.
Scheduled for the second half of 2021, this trip "will mark a turning point in the universalization of access to space", welcomed the boss of Axiom Space, Michael Suffredini, without revealing the price.
Each launch of its Falcon 9 rocket costs Space X about $ 60 million (56.73 million francs). Adding the cost of building the capsule, we can estimate that the ticket for the ISS will amount to several tens of millions of dollars.
Last trip in 2009
Eight space tourists have already made a trip to the international station in the Russian Soyuz rockets. The first was Dennis Tito, who paid $ 20 million (18.91 million francs) in 2001 for an eight-day stay at the ISS. The most recent was the founder of Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberté, in 2009.
SpaceX had announced in February another partnership, with the company Space Adventures, to send four tourists in orbit to an altitude never before reached by a private flight. This mission is also scheduled for the end of 2021, but should probably not take place until 2022.
Founder of Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberté, in 2009
Virgin Galactic (Richard Branson) and Blue Origin (Jeff Bezos) are also involved in space tourism. They are currently developing vessels capable of sending private passengers, for a few minutes, just over the border of space (80 or 100 km depending on the definitions chosen by each company), for 250,000 dollars (236,000 francs) or more in the case of Virgin.
What SpaceX offers is much more ambitious with its reusable Falcon 9 rocket, the same one that sends satellites into space and will send astronauts to the ISS.
International Space Station (ISS)
Boeing is also developing a vehicle, Nasa, Starliner, to join the ISS. Boeing wants private passengers to travel there in the future, but the development of Starliner is hampered by major software problems that almost caused its loss during an unmanned test mission in December.
Note from the Editor:
It has never been a good idea to send tourists (multi-millionaires) to a space laboratory at the expense of real professional astronauts (Missions Specialists) who have years of training and skills, who are on the waiting list and who pass their turn by a tourist, it is not only not normal but in addition these installations are paid with the taxes of the taxpayers of the partner countries, the space station is a scientific orbiting laboratory, not an amusement park.
Images, Text, Credits: AFP/SpaceX/NASA/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.