Space tourism is 'very beneficial' for the UK say David Morris
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Two Japanese space tourists have safely returned to Earth after exploring space earlier this month. Billionaire fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa and his producer Yozo Hirano spent 12 days at the International Space Station (ISS) with Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, before safely returning to Earth on December 20. Space tourism seems to be an unstoppable trend, so just how much is a ticket to space?
Many children dream of becoming an astronaut, and with the rise of space tourism, the dream is becoming a reality for many more people.
The latest trip to space was made by two so-called “space tourists”.
The Soyuz MS-20 space capsule landed in Kazakhstan on December 20 at 10.13 pm (GMT), just 12 days after the trio left Earth on December 8.
Typically Soyuz landings bring home professional astronauts who spend six months or more on the ISS, but space tourists tend to spend less time in space.
Space tourists are those who travel to space for recreational purposes, they often privately fund these trips themselves.
In true tourist style, Yozo Hirano filmed his boss Yusaku Maezawa floating inside the ISS during their short stay in space.
How much does a ticket to space cost?
Space isn’t your average holiday hotspot. Flights to such an exclusive destination will set you back millions.
Mr Maezawa paid for the trip through Space Adventures, a US-based company that acts as a broker for space tourist flights.
Although Space Adventures hasn’t revealed how much the flight cost, Russia has charged NASA as much as $90 million for a seat on a Soyuz flight to the space station in the past.
Mr Maezawa and Mr Hirano’s total bill would have been raised higher still as they had to train for three months for the flight.
Ticket costs will vary hugely depending on who you book with and for how long you stay.
This year a number of companies have popped up offering commercial flights to space.
Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, has established Blue Origin to blast tourists to space.
Although Blue Origin hasn’t publicly disclosed how much it costs to fly on its rocket, New Shepard, the last seat sold at auction cost $28m.
Mr Bezos said: “We don’t know quite yet,” when he was asked by reporters when Blue Origins would release their ticket prices.
He added: “Right now we’re doing really well with private sales.”
According to the BBC, Blue Origin is expected to sell tickets for future flights at a cost of between $200,000 and $300,000.
Virgin Galactic, launched by Sir Richard Branson, is another company offering to fly tourists to space.
It had sold tickets at $250,000 per flight but ticket sales were stopped in 2014 after a fatal accident.
The company reopened ticket sales this summer for its space trips which start at $450,000 a seat.
SpaceX – owned by Tesla founder Elon Musk – is a third company hoping to dominate the space tourism market.
It plans to partner with Nasa to transport astronauts to the ISS in the future, but it hasn’t released ticket sales for the flights yet.
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