How about a post-COVID adventure into the cosmos?
With no concrete end in sight to this pandemic (thanks anti-maskers), we’re forced to think about what the future of travel may hold. And by the time we’re actually able to leave the country and explore our beautiful world, there may be an even wilder option for the adventure seekers out there—space travel.
That’s right, in the next few years, multiple companies are gearing up to take you to space. You’ll be able to float in zero gravity, marvel at our beautiful blue ball from afar (flat earthers be damned), and see more stars than you could ever imagine. This isn’t a giant hoax (like the idea that masks don’t work), this is a real thing that you’ll really be able to do—that is, if you have the money.
So, here’s to hoping that locking ourselves in our homes for a year or two will be rewarded with the ultimate travel adventure of leaving Earth behind.
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Teaming up with Exclusive Resorts (a members-only vacation club), Space Perspective is planning to send travel explorers up to the edge of space via a balloon dubbed Spaceship Neptune. Exclusive Resorts members will get priority flights as eight people will soar to over 100,000 feet on a six-hour journey to see the curvature of the earth up close and personal. Flights are planned for 2024 and probably won’t be cheap. Memberships to Exclusive Resorts has initiation fees in the six figures and per-day vacation costs over $1,000. Still, you’re almost in space!
Offering both on-the-ground and above-the-earth experiences, Space Adventures is a private space company that’s planning for everything from zero-gravity flights on a normal plane to space flights that circle the moon. With legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin on their advisory board, the team at Space Adventures not only plans on sending private citizens to space, they’ve already done it. Granted you need millions of dollars and access to Russian rockets, but they’ve actually already sent seven individuals into the cosmos. The latest news has Space Adventures teaming up with the Elon Musk-owned SpaceX to send four lucky astronauts into space sometime in 2021.
Elon Musk doesn’t just want to send people to space, he wants to change travel altogether. SpaceX is hard at work figuring out how to get to Mars, how to send private citizens to the International Space Station (which they’ve done), and, most importantly, how to cut flight times on trips around the globe. As stated above, SpaceX and Space Adventures are trying to send a group of four up to the stars in 2021, but the most exciting space travel the company is planning is transporting passengers to anywhere on the globe in under an hour. Prices and dates for these other-worldly rides are to-be-determined, but it’s probably closer than you think since Elon Musk is behind it.
The battle for space among the billionaires continues with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Virgin bills themselves as the first commercial spaceline (see what they did there?). Virgin wants to send the masses into the upper reaches of the atmosphere as soon as possible—and there’s already a long waiting list. If you want to fly with Virgin, you have to register on their site, put down a $1,000 deposit, and wait your turn for when they begin flying. The actual costs of the flights will be in the $250,000 range, but really, can you put a price on that view?
Founded by Jeff Bezos (yes, richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos of Amazon), Blue Origin’s mission is to “build a road to space so our children can build the future.” Not sure what that means exactly, but Blue Origin wants to make space travel cheap, accessible, and reliable. Soon, aboard their New Shepard spaceship (named after Alan Shepard, who was the first American in space), you and five other space tourists will shoot up past the edge of the earth on an 11-minute adventure where you’ll be able to float and hover over the earth with unparalleled views. The company is planning to start sending passengers soon for the bargain price of around $150,000.
Finally, there’s Orion Span, the ultimate indulgence for the billionaire class. Orion Span is planning to launch its very own space station into orbit and then send ultra-rich space tourists to stay in their floating space hotel. They plan on launching the station in 2021 and will welcome guests in 2022. Ready for the cost? The deposit alone is $80,000 and the price to fly to your hotel room above earth is a cool $9.5 million. The biggest difference here is that Orion Span will send you up for 12 days where you can take part in every aspect of being an astronaut.