The fact that the future of space tourism is unpredictable is best evidenced by research carried out in 2011 by Space Adventures, in which it was predicted that by the end of the decade, 140 new tourists would exceed the cosmic border. Today we can easily assess the accuracy of these assumptions. The American company made a mistake about … 140 and it is not about underestimating.
Previously, the Kármán Line, the imaginary boundary of space 100 kilometers above sea level, was crossed by only eight holidaymakers. The first, Dennis Tito, did so in 2001 and paid $ 20 million for his trip. The last one, Guy Laliberté, made his flight in 2009 and spent just over twice as much on it as the aforementioned American.
Eight people in the 60-year history of space exploration may seem like a very poor result. During this time, a total of 568 people made a space flight. Among them was, of course, one Pole – Mirosław Hermaszewski. From time to time, we also heard about the winners of various competitions, who were to fly into orbit as a prize. Unfortunately, none of them joined this elite group.
In 2021, a breakthrough finally took place in an area that has been the subject of fascination for many for centuries. What seemed like a pipe dream over the years has become real. Something we could read about in science fiction books began to slowly become reality.
This year has certainly been remarkable for the 12 non-professional astronauts who have crossed the Kármán Line on spacecraft created by the companies of two of the world’s richest men. In a few months, more tourists achieved this art than in the entire previous period. Moreover, more flights are already scheduled.
What might the future of space tourism look like? It can certainly be similar to the history of aviation. The early designers were considered madmen, just like the first astronauts. Some of them paid for their passion with their lives. However, with the popularization of the activity, it ceased to be considered something abnormal.
Soon ordinary people started using plane / rocket flights. In a dozen, maybe several dozen years, we will reach the stage where a trip to orbit will not be anything more shocking than a trip to the salt mine in Wieliczka.
Of course, on the way, some unexpected accident will most likely happen, in which, unfortunately, people will die. In addition to the rocket, there will also be a public discussion about the sense of such trips. The security conditions will be tightened, and after a few months everyone will forget about the whole thing.
Going even further, maybe in this century we will have the opportunity to choose the trip that interests us: a few minutes on the Kármán Line, a few days at a space station, and even a walk on the Moon. Elon Musk announced that he intends to send people to Mars by 2030. Even if this trip is delayed by a decade or two, by the end of the century the first tourist will be on this planet for sure. However, how many people, so many visions of the future, so let us finish this far-reaching reflection here.
Currently, if we want to go at least 100 kilometers up, we have to reckon with an expense of PLN 80 million – the price is really out of space. There is no shortage of people willing to pay this amount, so we should not expect a drastic reduction. However, if we really care about contact with the racket, we will have to be content with going to the tennis court.