Only a few hundred people have managed the incredible performance of going into space until now but that number is likely to grow exponentially in the next few years. This is in no small part thanks to companies like Blue Origin that want to finally make space tourism a reality.
The company is reportedly planning to start selling tickets for its new venture as early as next year and anyone will be able to buy one. Well, at least in theory. If you’re thinking about becoming a space tourist you may want to start saving up early because tickets will apparently cost at least $200,000 a pop.
Blue Origin didn’t make an official announcement regarding the price just yet so take this with a grain of salt for now. However, the folks over at Reuters claim to have it on good authority that each ticket will cost anywhere between $200,000 and $300,000. The publication cited two different sources that work at Blue Origin and have first-hand knowledge of the company’s business plans. Unsurprisingly, the two employees chose to remain anonymous.
$200,000 to become a space tourist is definitely nothing to sneeze at but flying to space isn’t exactly cheap either. For example, SpaceX revealed that each Falcon 9 launch costs them $62 million. Meanwhile, the more powerful Falcon Heavy sets them back a whopping $90 million with every launch. Compared to those prices, Blue Origin’s tickets suddenly don’t seem that expensive anymore in the grand scheme of things. However, there’s a good reason for that.
You Can Call Yourself a Space Tourist but Some People May Disagree
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket will fly six passengers roughly 62 miles (100 km) above the Earth. At this height, you’d still be in suborbital space and you’d only stay there for a few minutes before New Shepard makes its way back to Earth. Most people would consider you a space tourist after making that trip but try to brag about it to an astrophysicist and you’d probably only get a muffled laughter in return.
Flying 62 miles above the Earth is pretty impressive but it’s hardly space travel. The ISS orbits our planet at an altitude four times greater in what’s known as low Earth orbit. At that altitude, you would indeed be in outer space but you’d need to go a bit farther even than that to be considered a real space tourist. Don’t get too discouraged, though, because only 24 astronauts ever got that far and that was during the Apollo era. It’s likely going to be a while before anyone tries it again.
Flying aboard New Shepard would be the next best thing to being an actual astronaut. You might as well go ahead and call yourself a space tourist if you can afford the ticket price even if you wouldn’t technically be in outer space. At the end of the day, very few people will know the difference.