For many people, the prosperity of commercial space tourism is a vulgar display of wealth and power. Faced with multiple global crises, including climate change and pandemics, billionaires have spent money to dive into space for fun. When Amazon founder Jeff Bezos told reporters after the first space trip on Tuesday, Amazon customers and employees “paid” for their flights. This only exacerbated this criticism.
But critics will not stop Bezos and other super-rich. For those who can afford it, space tourism is now a reality, and it will have an impact on everyone on Earth. In fact, everything shows that the market for these flights is large enough to continue. Jeff Bezos’ aerospace company Blue Origin plans to make two more trips by the end of this year, and Virgin Galactic, the aerospace company founded by billionaire Richard Branson, already has at least 600 people who have paid about $250,000 for each ticket for the flight in space shuttle.
As commercial space tourism (literally) gains momentum, future space travelers and others in the world are facing major problems.
The greatest benefit of space travel is vision. Directly crossing the boundary between space and the earth, passengers can enjoy the wonderful view of the combination of our planet and the unknown in space. When passengers take a Virgin Galactic flight, they will reach an altitude of about 85 kilometers; the passengers of Blue Origin will fly a little higher, about 100 kilometers above sea level, crossing the internationally recognized Carmen Line, the boundary between the earth and space.
It is not clear whether these trips will bring important new discoveries to scientists, but they can provide information that can be used for future space exploration. In fact, these trips have also been touted as potential opportunities for scientific experiments. For example, during the last flight of Virgin Galactic, plants were delivered and tested to understand their response to microgravity.
Commercial space tourism leaders have claimed that they have a market that supports the industry. Although Bezos hinted on Tuesday that prices will eventually fall, just as the high prices of the emerging airline industry will eventually fall, the current ticket prices are lower, hundreds of thousands, at least for Virgin Galactic. This price will make space travel impossible for most people, but enough wealthy people interested in space tourism seem to be economically viable.