On January 11, 2020, SpaceX, founder of Tesla mask, will suspend the flight test of the crew dragon, which will carry the Falcon 9 heavy rocket into space to test the emergency support system during the launch process. In other words, once there is an accident during the launch, the emergency system will be activated to take the spacecraft away from the rocket and ensure the safety of astronauts.
If all goes well, in the next few weeks, the Dragon spacecraft will carry two NASA astronauts for manned flight tests. NASA hopes to send American astronauts to the international space station as soon as possible through the Dragon spacecraft and Boeings starplane.
At the same time, Boeing had planned to send astronauts to space with a starplane spacecraft in the first few months of 2020. However, due to the failure of the mission during the test flight on December 20 last year, the schedule is still unclear. However, this test did not complete docking with the international space station, but at least achieved a successful return.
It is reported that in 2014, space exploration technology company and Boeing company obtained a total contract of 6.8 billion US dollars from NASA to build the manned version of dragon spacecraft and starplane manned spacecraft respectively. Both companies have repeatedly delayed development, allowing NASA to purchase more than 10 Russian ship tickets in the past two years.
On October 28, 2019 us time, Virgin Galactic was officially listed on the NYSE under the stock code of spce, becoming the first and only commercial manned space company listed in the world.
Virgin Galactic was founded in 2004 by Richard Branson, the founder of virgin aviation. Its goal is to build a space tourism company and let more people realize the dream of space exploration. The company previously said it would carry its first customers on space exploration flights between June and September 2020.
It is reported that about 600 people around the world have reserved space tourism seats for Virgin Galactic. Among them, there are celebrities like Justin Bieber and Leonardo DiCaprio. Branson himself also said that he would participate in the first commercial flight of the project.
Amazon founder Bezos founded blue origin, which has been testing near earth flights since 2015. The new Shepard is a fully automatic manned spacecraft that does not require human pilots and can carry six passengers. And it was the first rocket to land vertically from space. The 12th non manned flight test was successfully completed in December 2019. Bob Smith, CEO of blue origin, said in an interview that it is likely to carry customers on space flights in 2020.
Space Adventures is the worlds first private company engaged in space tourism services, and the only company that has so far successfully sent paid private passengers to space. Between 2001 and 2009, a total of seven passengers were sent to space, staying on the international space station for seven to 16 days. Charles Simone, the father of word, has been in space twice.
Space exploration company mainly provides services such as space suborbital tourism, parabola flight of aircraft, high-altitude flight and orbit flight close to space, micro space hotel plan, space funeral, etc. It also includes space flight training and zero gravity flight training in the Russian Star City on earth. The company currently has open space station and lunar travel inquiries, and the price depends on who provides the launch and how long you want to stay.
The capital market is also full of expectations for space tourism. Citibank predicts that the space tourism industry will reach 3 billion US dollars in 2030; Morgan Stanley believes that by 2040, the industry will grow to more than 1 trillion US dollars.
Despite the rise of private space companies, the cost of sending people and payloads into space remains high.
SpaceX, for example, uses the recoverable rocket Falcon 9 to put a 50000 pound commercial satellite into orbit, starting at $62 million. Atlas V of the United Launch Alliance starts at $73 million and has a payload of 41000 pounds.
In 2001, the first space tourist paid as much as $20 million for a trip to the international space station, and now ticket prices have more than doubled. To complete a three-day, two-night trip to the international space station, tourists not only need to pay more than $50 million to related companies, but also need to pay $35000 to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) every day to pay for food, air, life support systems and other costs.
According to a previous report by Xinhua news agency, the 630 richest man in the world in Forbes, youzuo maesawa, has contracted all the seats of the BFR rocket of SpaceX company last year and will fly around the moon in 2023. He also plans to invite some artist friends (6-8 people) to travel together. According to Japanese media speculation, Mr. maesawa will pay about a third of his entire fortune.
In contrast, the price of near earth space travel launched by Virgin Galactic and blue origin is much more affordable. Near earth space travel refers to the suborbital flight only to about 100 kilometers above the ground.
Virgin Galactic announced a ticket price of 250000 US dollars, and the blue origin ticket price is planned to be 200000-300000 US dollars, aiming at the affordable space travel market as well.
At present, Virgin Galactic has about 3000 customers who have expressed their potential intentions and received a total deposit of about US $80 million. Virgin Galactic expects to make a profit in 2021 and expand its commercial space travel operations by 2023, with the company flying 270 commercial space flights a year.
In fact, space travel tickets are not expensive compared to research and development and testing costs. According to NASA statistics, by the end of 2010, the space shuttle project had spent $209 billion, with an average cost of nearly $1.6 billion per flight, and there were two crashes in 134 flights. Virgin Galactics third quarter results last year showed revenue of $3.3 million in the first nine months of last year, but a loss of $138 million. SpaceX decided last year to cut jobs by 10% to save costs. Bezos admitted in 2017 that he would sell $1 billion of Amazon stock every year to fund blue origins.