It’s not hard to guess that commercial trips to space cost a lot. Only billionaires can afford such kind of pastime on condition that their health allows bearing the strain. According to unofficial data from Wikipedia it costs nearly half a billion dollars to prepare and launch a space shuttle. Soyuz spacecraft’s launch costs a lot cheaper – $50-70 million. And the launch of Proton and Atlas V rockets is worth $100-180 million. These amounts are the main causes that stop government from making regular rocket launches in order to explore space.
During the cold war superstates had a slightly different policy. When NASA was actively competing with the Soviet Union in the space race, space program budget accounted for at least 20% of the US national budget. Nowadays this number equals to 0.5% of the national budget – approximately $17 billion a year.
Naturally NASA had to allocate funds more appropriately and invest only in relevant projects. Besides that, such budget cuts have motivated the organization to begin collaboration with private corporations. Today government does not strictly control space programs, and NASA got an opportunity to attract sponsorship from third parties.
Such collaboration promises great perspectives, thus companies are fighting for the smallest share of the potential market in order to work with the largest space exploring organization. Such giants as Boeing and Lockheed Martin have already focused on this profitable investment. They have a decent technological base for supporting commercial trips to space.
But the most discussed company, working on space tours, is undoubtedly SpaceX. It’s a pet project of a famous inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk, who has proved that he can make a revolution in the field of transport.
SpaceX is already incredibly popular among those who keep track of developments and creative startups. Many authoritative sources have acknowledged Elon Musk’s project to be the most outstanding in recent years. A private spacecraft Dragon was the first company’s vehicle that managed to dock to the ISS, and as the result the company signed the agreement for delivering cargo to the orbit. There are plans to carry astronauts as well starting from this year.
After the creation of reusable pilotless rocket any wealthy person will be able to afford a trip to space.
According to Musk after investing his own funds in DragonX and Tesla Motors, which made him famous, he had to contract debts and there were times when he could not even pay rent. But he believed in success and now can be proud of taking great efforts to realize his ideas.
This story is even romantic at times, as his dream to go into space came true due to his own efforts mainly. Some people even call him Tony Stark – a super hero of current time.
It’s quite obvious now that in the future space will be explored in the same way as the bosom of the sea or endless plains. People will be able to touch the incomprehensible, and there is little time left before people start travelling to stars instead of exotic countries. For sure there is lots of work ahead for engineers to make spaceships as popular and cheap as for example taxis. This task requires maximum accuracy, as the smallest mistakes can cause a real disaster. Nevertheless Elon Musk hopes that soon time will come when every person on Earth will be able to fly into space at least once.
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