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Guide to Space Tourism

Updated on July 11, 2014

Guide to Space Tourism

Space tourism covers a lot of areas: orbit, L5 Lagrangian point, the moon, Earth resonant asteroids (asteroids that orbit the Earth but not in a circular orbit like the moon), Mars, and the biggest asteroids like Ceres.

It also covers excursions to the Galilean moons of Jupiter, the moons of Saturn, and perhaps solar yachting. I doubt if any tourist will pay for a trip to Mercury, Venus, or Uranus but then I could be wrong. There might be rich scientists who would love to go.

One reason for space tourism is to get away from numbskulls and nuckleheads on a little planet called Earth. Read the news headlines if you need convincing.

This lens tries to be of interest and of use to middle class people. I have nothing against high-income people or low-income people but, low-income people cannot afford space tourism and there are plenty of resources for high-income people in this type of tourism. In fact, Space Adventures offers a package to spend time on the International Space Station for fifty million US dollars and a trip around the moon for one hundred fifty million US dollars. Of the two available seats for the lunar orbit, one has already been sold and the other is in negotiation. These prices are outside my price range and probably yours. So I try to focus on the stuff that is being aimed at the mass market.

You can bet that prices will drop below Virgin Galactic's $200,000 per seat for suborbital flights. In fact, they already have with travel agencies marketing flights on the XCOR Lynx at about $95,000.

With this latest update, I have added material of interest to those in the working class who want to go and do not see a way. As Wayne of Wayne's World would say: "Way."


About the image: title not on Amazon

Virgin spaceship ignites engine in flight for first time

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo makes 1st powered flight nearing suborbital rides

XCOR Aerospace - Extended Interview - Andaaz

XCOR is the builder of the Lynx and the contractor for Cosmica Spacelines. What's that? Never heard of Cosmica? Even Wikipedia will not pull up any reference to Cosmica Spacelines. Aren't you glad that you have Toni Roman to find out stuff that you would never hear of otherwise?

Astrium's Spaceplane

Editor's Note -- EADS is a huge European military contractor with deep pockets. Don't be fooled by this slick video. They do not have actual hardware like Virgin and XCOR. Probably they will end up buying some smaller company the same way Sierra Nevada Corporation bought out James Benson's SpaceDev, Inc. to obtain the Dream Chaser spaceplane project. Big companies and advanced ideas seldom go together. Or EADS Astrium might simply get out of the space tourism business unable to compete.

the competition to Virgin Galactic

Editor's Note -- Why have you heard of Virgin Galactic but not Cosmica Spacelines? Number one, Virgin Galactic has high profile Sir Richard Branson and Cosmica does not have any famous people. Number two, Cosmica is a French company and Virgin is a British company. Americans simply do not pay attention to anything not spoken in English. Number three, Cosmica is neither intended to be a tour operator like Virgin Galactic nor a scheduled airline like Virgin Atlantic. Not sure what Cosmica plans to be when it grows up but it seems to be a combination of time share (part ownership) in spaceplanes and a private spaceflight club.




this is a Boeing concept

Boeing is more aero than space. I'll believe in their hardware when it is conveying space tourists safely to orbit.

skiing on a Jovian moon

space shuttle external tank - to which the Daily Kos writer referred

He talked about refurbishing the tank in orbit into a small stadium:

"Of note, that tank is much smaller than what would be feasible and actually using a shuttle external tank is more expensive than would be necessary.

As Ross Tierney at Nasaspaceflight explained to me, it would be far less expensive to simply launch a pre-built facility as payload on top of a Jupiter 120 or Jupiter 232, and since the external tank has diameter of 8.4 meters and the Jupiter series might well accommodate a 12 meter payload fairing (PLF) a 50% increase in diameter is very feasible. Shuttle C, Shuttle B - 16 page pdf and Ares V could also be used, but those options strike me as being much more expensive than Jupiter.

Regardless of launcher, what if an even larger custom built Bigelow habitat were launched in that 12 meter PLF? Could that provide a 17 meter diameter stadium? Which would be twice the diameter of the volume found in this photo?

Now that could allow for zero-gee sports games perhaps played six on six (six players per team, at one time)."

editor's note -- the article goes on to talk about zero-G gyms.


Skydiver's edge-of-space dive breaks sound barrier

-Felix Baumgartner-, Live broadcast of the launch [Photos and and video]

by now, everyone knows about "Vomit Comet" rides in planes

For some reason, most people do not throw up on parabolic elliptic flights in airplanes. It must be that all those roller coaster rides in amusement parks have prepared their stomachs.

Well, I guess you're ready for real space now. But a space tour without regurgitation takes all the fun out of space travel. Projectile vomiting is a noble tradition since the earliest days of spaceflight. Plus it clogs up the air filters and makes you very unpopular with your fellow travelers. Keep your barf bag handy.

Okay, that's enough rough ride humor. I won't even go into what explosive decompression (sudden loss of cabin pressure when some idiot opens an air lock) does to your underwear. Enough humor. I have gotten it out of my system. Roll on the ceiling laughing.



Space Hotels

link list

Bigelow's Bungalow

Bigelow's Bungalow


Bigelow Aerospace's Sundancer Two

Galactic Suite Space Resort

Galactic Suite Space Resort

Have your computer magnify the image if you cannot read the text included with the image.

space hotel

Galactic Suite

Galactic Suite Space Resort

Galactic Suite Space Resort


I apologize for the graininess of the brochures even magnified. Some of the brochures are in Spanish as this is a Barcelona-based company. Most of the brochures point out that they are using EADS-Astrium technology. EADS is the European Aerospace Defence Space conglomerate equivalent to American defense contractors.

Galactic Suite Space Resort

Dennis Tito - first space tourist

The astronauts don't count because you the taxpayer paid their way. This millionaire paid his own way. And get this, he used to work for NASA at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Dennis Tito - another photo of him

Anousheh Ansari - first female space tourist

Note the Russian Cyrillic characters on her space suit. She is Iranian but NASA is trying to get into the act by having her pose in front of an American flag.

As should be obvious by now, Dennis Tito also had to go way over to Russia to get a ride up to orbit because NASA just doesn't want ordinary people going into space. Some sort of government monopoly or racket going on I suppose.

Okay so Ms. Ansari is a millionairess.

My point is that she and the other space tourists are a huge step toward the day when ordinary Joes and Jolenes like you can afford the price of a ticket. The more millionaires go up the more the economies of scale kick in and then "thousandaires" will be able to afford it as ticket prices drop. Believe it when the space companies tell you that they want millions of people to go not just people who have millions. Think Walmart. Walmart makes a lot more money than Bijans (a store for millionaires). Volume, volume, volume.

Anousheh Ansari

Anousheh Ansari

What can I tell you? She's photogenic and Dennis is not.

Anousheh Ansari

Anousheh Ansari



you could be rich and sipping champagne at a space resort

It can't all be rich tourists sipping champagne.

Some of the space tourists will be average Joes. How gauche, drinking from the bottle while everyone else uses their glass. No wonder NASA is trying to keep the non-elite out of space. It is class warfare. Of course, this dive is called Atomic Liquor Cocktails.

editor's note -- The Holiday Inn chain hasn't used that style sign in decades.

space weddings

Jen & Ryan's Space Wedding Rings Contest Video Entry

ZERO-G Weightless Wedding

Space Wedding


lace helmet veil









space honeymoons

vintage book




Hank Snow :HONEYMOON ON A ROCKETSHIP written by Johnny Masters

Grooms have been dreaming of giving their brides the moon for a honeymoon since caveman times and now it is about to become possible.

Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides - planning the first ever space honeymoon

The only interesting topic at the 2008 IAC: Open Plenary is about one-third the way through this over two hours long video.

Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides - planning the first ever space honeymoon on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo - added her perspective and motivations. She is Director, US Operation for the Space Generation Advisory Council and co-founder & Executive Director of Yuri's Night, USA.


The reason they aren't laughing any more is because the sound of cash registers is drowning out the laughter and silencing the critics. We all know critics stand by and say something is impossible while others are busy doing it.

Space Tourists - a film by Christian Frei

Space Tourists

Space Tourists

"Space Tourists" Official Trailer


Space Tourism

Space Hotel

Space Hotel

Space Tourism

Private Space Flight

The Privatization of Space Exploration

Duel Debate Module

What part of space would you like to tour?

the Horsehead Nebula


a bit closer



there is nothing worse than getting to Saturn and - doh !

left the camera at home.

like weather maps on TV, sometimes astronomers use false colors to bring out detail - (the red rings was kind of a tip off that it wasn't true coloration)

this is The Planetary Society's favorite image - they use it in their brochures and on their bumper stickers

or at least they used to.

I never understood why some astronomers chose the UV wavelengths as their specialty - until I saw this image

UV is, of course, ultraviolet


You've all heard those expressions --

"Look at that lunatic, as crazy as the man in the moon, mooning over her"

My Favorite Martian. Look out Martians!

"Proxima Centauri will always be close (or proximate) to my heart"

Andromeda is ascendant

"Just let me triangulate that for you."

The Crab cakes are good but the nebula will leave you sick

Jupiter has a Great Red Spot. Really great. (I'm sure it's not contagious)

He has somewhat of a Saturnine disposition.

Okay, so maybe you don't use these expressions often. I guess you don't get out often.

Where would you go in the universe it you could go anywhere now?

See results

Cat's Eye Nebula

Cat's Eye Nebula
Cat's Eye Nebula

Eagle Nebula

Orion Nebula (closeup)

Orion Nebula (closeup)
Orion Nebula (closeup)

Rosette Nebula

Rosette Nebula
Rosette Nebula

Rosette Nebula again

Rosette Nebula again
Rosette Nebula again

us by the lake

us by the lake
us by the lake

some world named EPCOT

some world named EPCOT
some world named EPCOT

feet worn out from sightseeing

feet worn out from sightseeing
feet worn out from sightseeing

the tour bus had a flat tire

so we got out and did some sightseeing while they fixed it

The Great Red Spot

Don't be fooled by imitators, like A red spot or B red spot. There is only one "THE" Great Red Spot.


60 Million Dollar Views: Space hotel makes E.T. tourism reality

Russia Plans Hotel for Space Tourists

How would you afford to travel to space? Pick only one.

See results

Top Tourist Destinations in the Solar System


The Rings

Enceladus -- considered by some as the most beautiful world in the Solar System

Dragon Storm, Storm Alley, southern hemisphere, Saturn (lightning storms that can be detected from 100 million miles away) -- possibly the best natural fireworks in the Solar System


Europa -- deepest ocean

Io -- volcanoes with plumes that reach 180 miles high (15 times the largest on Earth)

Great Red Spot -- the longest lived storm in the Solar System (it may be as old as 348 years)


Valles Marineris (over five times deeper than the Grand Canyon on Earth)

Olympus Mons, Tharsis Rise (three times the height of Mount Everest)


windsurfing in the jet stream of Neptune -- one slight problem though is that since Neptune has the highest wind speeds in the Solar System, you are likely to die pioneering the sport of atmospheric wind surfing, the Great Dark Spot anticyclone (which is gone now) tracked at 750 miles per hour; the jet stream is supersonic at times as high as 1243 miles per hour.

Triton -- ice volcanoes

the view

In this case, from a high altitude balloon near space. This is a little discussed method that was used before the X-15 planes and the Mercury rockets. All three methods of reaching near space are still very much around.


From near space, the sky is black and the sun is white (not yellow like it looks on the ground), and the Earth is round and blue (along with a few other colors).

This company, also known as InBloon, offers comfortable seats as you can see in this image. Also it has 360 degree view, three-star Michelin menu (none of that sucking from a toothpaste tube like on the ISS), private bathroom, more room than in an Airbus A380 First Class, and room temperature (72 degrees Fahrenheit).

Plus it offers a lot more safety features than with other modes of space tourism, no motion sickness (no high G's, brief weightlessness during return), quiet (no deafening rocket noise), no toxic exhaust (unlike NASA rockets), no explosives (like the fuel NASA uses), no strenuous training (See note in next paragraph), insurance coverage, no medical checkups (they won't be feeling you up like the TSA), open to seniors and children, privacy (not treated like you were a criminal), less expensive than Virgin Galactic (though not as cheap as XCOR's Lynx), longer flight (See: Note on this),

Note: One space tourist, businessman Daisuke Enomoto, spent $21 million for a flight and the Russian Space Agency bumped him off his flight and he has not gotten a refund as of this writing. He was pulled from training, presumably because of a medical condition (kidney stones).

Note: Longer flight means that you get a more leisurely experience (more bang for the buck) and this makes it more like an ocean cruise line or sail or an airship ride. People in a hurry to get to orbit might well prefer a rocket or a spaceplane because it is faster. It depends on what you want.

zero2infinity in TVE1

This video at the company's YouTube channel has a few problems.

This video works just fine.

The Space Tourist's Handbook
The Space Tourist's Handbook

The co-author runs a space travel agency so he knows what he's talking about


Saving for Your Spaceflight - or pay now and fly later

You might want to make money by investing in space. See my lens called: "Guide to Space Investing"

This module also has tips on preparing for your space vacation (if you will be staying for a week or more) or space tour (a couple of hours) or brief space flight (very brief).

Space Tourism for Working Class people - Or why should the rich have all the fun?

I started thinking after I updated the introduction and said that this lens is for the middle class that even so, I can spare room for a section for those on a tight budget.

1. You need to get a blue collar job where the company will tell you to go into space and then pay you a salary. Think about it. The NASA astronauts go on junkets at taxpayer expense (your money) and then the NASA administrators have the attitude that space is too good for you! The NASA astronauts do not pay to go. They get a check and after they retire, they can go on paid speaking tours and do consulting. So find a company that desperately wants people to go out there and will pay top dollar for anyone who they can recruit. How? Look in my lens "Guide to Space Careers". You will need to go back to school to pick up skills in demand. Probably the kind of work will be space construction but space mining companies might need people to repair their mining robots. There are over a half dozen space mining companies. Put in your application today.

2. Be an extreme athlete and get sponsors.

3. Be a commercial space explorer.

4. Accept "suicide" missions that no one else is willing to accept. Test pilot of the first relativistic speed starship. One way trip to Mars. That sort of thing. Apparently not all humans are gutless cowards. When a company offered free one way travel to Mars, the naysayers ridiculed anyone who signed up, Needless to say, there are a lot of takers who don't mind the possibility of being killed. I could list all the hazards but why bother? You are either going or you are not.

5. Go as a student. Look up all the big space schools like International Space University and find out about student opportunities. Right now, the only nation serious about sending students is India.

6. Several African individuals started space projects by themselves all alone. Not surprisingly, a lot of volunteers (including the military and business investors) have volunteered assistance and at least one fellow is making decent progress. So either move to one of these countries to go volunteer (and get your foot in on the ground floor of a space program) or become a test pilot for a space company. Commercial space pilots have their own association. Join it.

7. Some space companies offer the occasional seat as a prize in a sweepstakes or on a game show. Two reality shows have used space tourism as a grand prize. If you can enter for free or without gambling on the lotto, then why not?


image: Nina "space coyote" Matsumoto is a comic book artist and T-shirt designer.



orbital construction

and fun spacewalking.

"I can't believe that they pay me to do this!"

Raising the money for a space vacation

(if you are not rich)

1. Sell stuff on eBay. Also garage sales, yard sales and bake sales.

2. Get a second and third job. If you are not a lazy bum, then get a fourth job.

3. Direct deposit part of your income to a passbook account dedicated to the space vacation. Treat this account like a bill and pay yourself first.

4. Clip coupons.

5. Budget. Cut spending on luxuries and non-necessities. Space is the luxury that you are saving up for.

6. Cut out the expensive coffee and bring your coffee from home in a thermos.

7. Quit smoking. They won't let you smoke on a spaceflight and the resulting better health from not smoking makes it more likely that you won't be bumped from a flight for medical reasons or simply because the other passengers don't won't a smoke aboard.

8. Quit drinking. Same reasons. If you must, the government allows you to ferment your own home brew anyway. My folks used to take apple peels or peach peels and let the brewer's yeast make wine.

9. Invest the money you are putting aside at maximum interest or dividend rate in a safe investment.

10. Let the children get involved and pitch in money from a lemonade stand or selling Girl Scout cookies. Let the family compete to come up with fund-raising ideas. Make it a game. Might as well have fun while accumulating money to have fun in space.

11. Start a side business.

12. Do your employee benefits include paid vacation days? If so, then that much closer to your total budget.

13. Some hotels offer layaway plans. If you will be staying at a hotel on the ground either the night before the flight or the night after returning, then this can save you some money by paying before you arrive.

14. Use your frequent flyer miles if you can.

The Future of this lens - (assuming it has one)

If I get enough traffic on this lens to justify my time spent updating it, then I will be looking at more space tourism projects outside the USA since (once again) our government is trying to stifle innovation and kill our future to protect old and dead industries (like aerospace). Whenever NASA pretends to be interested in space tourism, it is really trying to co-opt ideas or steal intellectual property. Some of these companies have told that right to the faces of NASA managers.

One of the main ways of destroying new companies is to give them a government contract (generally for science or military missions). Since most of these tiny companies have never seen so much money, they get excited and forget what they started out to do -- to get you into space. There is an election. Congress switches political parties. Policy changes. The program is cancelled and the little NewSpace company is rendered bankrupt while the old aerospace dinosaurs plod along in lockstep with NASA and the Defense Department, neither of which wants civilians or consumers in space.

Another way is to strangle the new companies is to load them down with safety regulations. Now I am a _HUGE_ advocate of space safety. I don't have a problem with safety systems. However, we are not talking about safety systems. We are talking about safety regulations. Red tape. While safety concerns and technical problems must surely account for Virgin Galactic's delays, red tape must also play a role.

I don't want to see billionaires blow up on their way to space or burn up on their way back but historically, with any new transportation advance, rich people have been willing to take those risks. Armadillo has basically shut down after a recent crash and no loss of life was involved. Are we a nation of wusses? Let the super-rich take the risk of super-fast boats and space tourism and other dangerous pursuits (like cryogenic suspended animation and being on the first starships). Isn't that their role in society? It balances out the scales of justice. If rich people suck the taxpayers dry, then I am willing to let it go as long as they are the opening wedges of new innovations. New products and new services don't have all the bugs worked out so some consumers die. That should be dare-devil rich people. Not even all rich people. Just the adventurers and risk-takers who are consenting adults and who sign the waivers so that they can have their joy rides.

It is simple genetics. The human race has a certain number of risk takers in the gene pool who croak so that the race as a whole advances when we learn how to do new things safely. But at first it will be dangerous. Getting back to cases. In the space business, no one takes you seriously until you blow a few things up. If your company folds at the first unsuccessful test, then you did not have deep enough pockets nor enough insurance. If you cannot take the heat, get out of the kitchen as they say. Get out of the way and let another company try. NASA needs to get out of the way and let the private sector try.

NASA requires tourists to sign a legal document pledging that they and their heirs will not sue the space agency before they are cleared to board the ISS. Therefore, you should not sign any NASA documents and sue NASA anyway for the unpardonable crime of spending the last fifty years creating every obstruction that their warped minds can think of to keep ordinary people out of space. A good class action lawsuit might hammer into their heads that ordinary people want to go now, safely, and at low cost. Luxury would be nice too (seeing "robot astronauts" in comfortable couches while humans are lucky to get hard metal seats really makes people hopping mad). However, I don't think anything less than slashing the NASA budget to zero will get through their thick skulls. A hundred times, a thousand times, ten thousand times, one hundred thousand times, a million times we should say to NASA that we want to go. Maybe NASA administrators should be required by law to turn their hearing aids back on so that they will hear us.


The image is of the gate to Spaceport America before they finished construction. Its future is in doubt with all the delays created by the government bureaucrats and the white-knuckled corporate types.

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      4 years ago

      As always you have put a lot of work into this lens. Well done on a comprehensive look at space tourism


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