Looks like people have finished exploring the earth, and now it’s time to travel to space.
Space tourism became a real thing when Dennis Tito became the first private space traveller who bought a ticket into a spacecraft. He was abroad on the Russian Soyuz flight in 2001 and paid $20 million for his 8-day trip.
Today several companies are trying to make sub-orbital space tourism a real thing for the world. and leading the race are the likes of Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, Blue Origin, and so on.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for Space Tourism estimated at US$651 million in the year 2020, is projected to reach a revised size of US$1.7 Billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 15.2% over the period 2020-2027.
Some of the biggest players in this sphere are Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos led Blue Origin, and Richard Branson backed Virgin Galactic. Last November, Sierra Space, led by Tom Vice, picked up a massive $1.4 billion Series A fundraising round. In fact, earlier last year, NASA also announced that after Apollo’s landing, the next lunar mission with astronauts on board will be in a SpaceX Starship, the same ship that is supposed to become our ticket to Mars by 2029.
But how do they plan on recovering the cost of flight and equipment? Also, the years of research and development put behind making this a remote possibility?
Well, Virgin Galactic, which already claims to have 600 seat reservations, last spoke of charging ~$250,000 to $400,000 per head. Their flight capacity stands at 2 crew + 4 passengers, and eventually, the cost of the flight is expected to drop to a mere $40,000. Blue Origin’s flight which can take up to six passengers (this one’s automatically manoeuvred) had a seat auctioned at $28 million. They also claim to have already sold tickets worth ~$100 million for their New Shephard flights.
SpaceX has not revealed any prices as of yet, but their flights seem to have an edge – unlike the aforementioned, the SpaceX flights don’t just go to the edge of space and come back; they stay in orbit for a couple of days before descent.
Amongst the passengers waiting to make this breathtaking travel is the Indian businessman from Kerala, Santhosh George Kulangara, who is slated to be one of the early ones to be given this access. Kulangara signed up for this programme back in 2005 when Branson asked people to join his “space tour” via an ad. Later, in 2007, he was enrolled as one of the early tourists. Last reported, his space ticket will cost approximately ₹1.8 crores, excluding additional training costs.
What’s the future looking like?
With SpaceX’s Inspiration4, the first-ever all-civilian space flight, space travel is on everyone’s mind. The future of this industry looks extremely aspirational and even though it’s in the billionaire phase, we can easily foresee a future where people save a significant sum to travel to space, just like they do for homes and cars and education.
According to a ValuePenguin survey, 49% of Americans want to travel to space. In fact, 28% of both men and Gen-Zers would choose a free trip to space over being debt-free!
According to the preliminary survey and forecast by UPES, India, if the cost of a suborbital flight is $200,000, there will be no demand until 2013. However, if the cost is reduced to $150,000, demand for travel will spike, with the possibility of nearly 4000 passengers in 2013, and eventually 8500 suborbital passengers in 2020. Again, it is assumed that the ticket price for flight would be reduced to $100,000 in 2020, resulting in a sharp increase in demand of about fourfold to over 33000 passengers in 2021, and eventually to 50000 passengers by 2025.
This study was back in 2011. One can only imagine that with the advent of and exposure to technology, how this number must have spiked.
Not limited to flying, this industry is also exploring options like space hotels and experience centres, making the space accessible to all.Do you think the future of travel lies in space? Ask your friends
We are already planning our next investments to fund our ticket to space; are you?
Have other dreams you’d like to fund before your space travel ticket? The team at Windmill Capital could help!
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