Orbital Space Tourism For $1M
Is it crazy to think that we might be close to affordable space tourism?
The cheapest advertised price to launch people to LEO is a bit over $26 million/seat on a Falcon 9/Dragon which includes a stay at a Bigelow space station [Bigelow 2015], also in development. Current estimates are that space colonists would need about 17 tons per person for their share of space station habitat. The cheapest advertised price today for delivering mass to orbit is the Falcon Heavy, in development, at $90 million for 53 tons to LEO [SpaceX 2015], or $1.7 million per ton. For 17 tons that is about $29 million. Combining these two costs gives us (rounding up) $60 million per person. This does not include materials, construction or resupply costs. It would be assumed that government or space tourism businesses will conduct most of the research and development cost other than actually building a settlement.
Elon Musk is trying to make hundreds of flights per year economic by launching and maintaining a network of 4000-20,000 internet satellites.
By 2022, the buildout of the internet satellite network should be in full swing and the cost to low earth orbit per person could drop to $200,000 to $400,000...
There is high cost tourism now.
$35,000 to 65000 or more for up to 1000 people per year to try to climb Everest. There is also a 0.57% death rate.
There is a Silver Seas world cruise for $1.2 million. Rich people go on a super luxury cruise with special guides.
Science fiction fans of course remember the spacious lounge in the orbiting hotel and space station in 2001: A Space Odyssey; note the low curving ceiling (this space station was spun on its axis to provide artificial gravity for the guests).
(From 2001 Lounge)
Another well-known science-fictional orbital resort is Freeside, a large space habitat that provides everything a tourist could want:
`Freeside,' Armitage said, touching the panel on the little Braun hologram projector. The image shivered into focus, nearly three meters from tip to tip. `Casinos here.' He reached into the skeletal representation and pointed. `Hotels, strata-title property, big shops along here.' His hand moved. `Blue areas are lakes.' He walked to one end of the model. `Big cigar. Narrows at the ends.'
`We can see that fine,' Molly said.
`Mountain effect, as it narrows. Ground seems to get higher, more rocky, but it's an easy climb. Higher you climb, the lower the gravity. Sports up
there. There's velodrome ring here.' He pointed.
`A what?' Case leaned forward.
`They race bicycles,' Molly said. `Low grav, high-traction tires, get up over a hundred kilos an hour.'
(From Freeside Orbital Resort)
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