Space travel will become a reality soon, so let’s have a look at what it would cost to, even for a brief moment, go above 100km (where space officially starts) and become an astronaut.
Virgin Galactic‘s WhiteKnightTwo airplane will carry SpaceShipTwo with two pilots and six passengers to an altitude of 16 km (or 50.000 feet), where SpaceShipTwo is released and its rocket engine fires to take it up to 110km. As if $200.000 per person wasn’t enough to get a seat in one of the SpaceShipTwo ships though, the price recently went up to $250.000. So what is the alternative for the less fortunate amongst us?
Well, there is XCOR Aerospace‘s Lynx which would get you into space for $95.000 and you can book (and check out the video) here. It would just be you and the pilot experiencing a half-hour suborbital flight to 100 km (330,000 feet) and then returning to a landing at the takeoff runway, but for less than half the price of a ticket aboard Virgin Galactic‘s SpaceShipTwo it sounds like value for money. With a fast turnaround time (they don’t use any separate launch vehicle – as it is basically a cutting edge plane that does the whole trip from the ground to suborbit by itself using only rocket engines), they are looking at launching four flights a day meaning you could still take the family out for a nice day out.
Starchaser Industries offers a seat to anyone able to cough up £98.000 (currently around $150.000), + VAT (slap another 20% on top of that basically) and seems to take things in two stages. Their first approach will consist of a 3 person reusable space capsule called Thunderstar which will be launched on top of their own Starchaser 5 rocket. Stage 2 of their plans will feature an 8-seater spaceplane that will take off vertically on a modified version of said rocket. You can check out more info here, but as their news is 2+ years outdated, perhaps this one bit the dust already.
Next time, we’ll look at SpaceX‘s Dragon capsule and many more. Stay tuned!