Space tourism, which quite recently seemed absolutely incredible, a fantastic future of Stanley Kubrick's films, now has ceased to be so intriguing and mysterious, and private companies are voicing more and more ambitious plans for space tourism. One of the recent announcements on space tourism was the news about the launch of a "space taxi" in 2015 and construction of tourist hotels on the moon.
Today, astronauts, not just conquer the Moon in the American style, but regularly visit the orbit, staying sometimes for months there. Nevertheless, the term "space tourism" still sounds a little deliberately and fantastic.
The only company which offered space travel in 1989 was the Russian company Roskosmos. Today, Roskosmos in collaboration with Space Adventures offer space tourists, who able to pay such an extravagant and highly expensive travel, the possibility of using Russian Soyuz spacecraft to visit the Earth's orbit and visit the Russian segment of ISS.
In the near future (according to cosmic standards), significant competition to Roscosmos can make Boeing that has announced recently about launching a program on creating a "space taxi" in alliance with an American partner, Space Adventures. The U.S. government had given a grant of $ 50 million dollars for the design and development of a new space capsule for transporting space tourists to the ISS.
New carrier CST-100, which will be developed by Boeing, will have 7 seats, which will be divided among the members of the crew and space tourists. The cost of such travel on a space taxi from the Alliance Boeing-Space Adventures will be roughly equal to Russia's space travel and the amount of 30-40 million U.S. dollars and will be available for tourists in 2015.
Nevertheless, more realistic and much more attractive proposal for tourists is offer from Virgin Galactic, which is owned by British billionaire Richard Branson. The company Virgin Galactic offers space tourists to overcome the space frontier and make a suborbital flight on the spaceship of SpaceShipTwo company. Such an unforgettable trip will cost space tourists significantly cheaper than offers from Boeing or the Federal Space Agency and will be only 200 000 dollars. According to the company, currently in the program of space exploration by tourists have already expressed their willingness to participate and pay a deposit of 20,000 dollars, more than 340 Virgin Galactic astronauts who will make a space trip as early as 2012.
Among other things, ambitious and in the British-style eccentric owner of Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson announced plans to build a space hotel on the moon. According to Mr. Branson, in addition to receiving tourists hotel can serve as a resting place for astronauts during long flights.