It's been exactly 50 years to date since Yuri Gagarin became the first person to go into space. When will it be your turn?
If you have an extra $102,000 lying around, you can buy your ticket today. Space Adventures, a company based in Vienna, Va., is developing a suborbital vehicle that will take you just past the Kármán line, the 62-mile-high boundary that demarcates the beginning of outer space. Space Adventures calls this figure a "relatively affordable price," which seems like a stretch until you compare it to the $20 million to $35 million that other space tourists have paid the company for trips to the final frontier.
According to CNN, "[m]ultiple companies are developing their own spaceships and their own plans for making money in space. Virgin Galactic, for example, could start taking tourists on suborbital joyrides as early as 2012, at $200,000 per seat. More than 400 people have already bought down payments for such a trip, according to company officials."
The first space tourist was Dennis Tito, a multimillionaire entrepreneur from New York who in 2001 spent eight days aboard the International Space Station, with transportation there and back provided by the Russian Soyuz TM-31. The next one was South African software entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth, who spent 11 days in space. He spent approximately one year in training and $20 million to do so.
In the past, anyone considering a trip into space had to either join the air force or an engineering degree, and then undergo many, many months of rigorous training. But in 2011, the only requirements are to be in good health be filthy rich.
But the prices for a ticket seem to be gradually dropping. Perhaps some day, space tourism will become as available to the masses as airline travel. What's it like up there, would I get a window seat? How much would it cost to check my bag, and do I get salted peanuts?