Space travel is the new vacation for the super rich


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Where do you hope to meet your favorite billionaires and Hollywood superstars on vacation this year? British Virgin Islands, Bora Bora, Aspen? How about the French delights of the Cote d’Azur? No, when it comes to exclusive destinations for the rich and famous — a place is a place.

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For well-heeled travelers, space isn’t the final frontier, it’s just the next frontier. Starting in July 2021, when Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic became the first crewed passenger space flight, the prospect of traveling to this dream destination became a reality for the very wealthy.

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“Just imagine a world where people of all ages, of all backgrounds, from anywhere, any gender, any race, have equal access to space,” Branson said after the touchdown, per TechCrunch. “Welcome to the dawn of a new space age!”

Space travel remains extremely expensive

But it will be a while before people of all backgrounds get the chance to ride in space. Branson’s Virgin Galactic began taking a $150,000 deposit for the $450,000, 90-minute space romp in February of this year. According to The Street Report, more than 8,000 people reserved a spot just days after the announcement.

As the Washington Post reported last year, a weeklong trip to the International Space Station costs about $55 million. Houston-based Axiom Space – which handles training as well as all flight preparation and expenses – said it has booked four flights aboard Elon Musk’s SpaceX ship Crew Dragon over the next few years.

According to Science Focus, Musk has invested heavily in his passenger space travel program, so much so that he aims to operate 1,000 starships by 2050. On August 4, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin announced that it had just completed its sixth manned space flight and the 22nd New Shepard program space mission.

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Space tourism is a long-term growth industry, experts suggest

In an investor note last May, Canaccord Genuity’s Ken Herbert and Austin Moeller tagged Virgin Galactic Holdings a “buy,” believing in the long-term prosperity of space tourism and predicting the market will be worth $8 billion by 2030.

“We believe the life-changing experience and value proposition of traveling to the edge of the universe is like no other,” the Washington Post quoted Herbert and Moller as saying. “And there are probably many single-digit millionaires willing to contribute large chunks of their wealth to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime space odyssey.”

Other agencies are excited about the equal opportunity possibilities for citizens that space travel could eventually provide. Although it was previously reluctant to open its services and support for passenger space travel after the tragic events surrounding the 1986 Challenger disaster, NASA now appears to be fully on board.

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As The Washington Post reported last year, Kathy Lueders, head of NASA’s Office of Human Space Flight, shares a passion not unlike Branson’s for the future of accessible passenger space travel.

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“That’s a dream, isn’t it?” Luders said this at the press conference held at that time. “That space isn’t just for NASA anymore, and I think that’s what we’re trying to do. Our goal is to be able to give as many people as possible access to space, so it kind of opens up opportunities for all of us.”

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About the author

David Nadel is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After 18 years working in the energy industry, he decided to change careers in 2016 and focus full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communications diploma and has previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience writing copy for the retail industry.

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