For those of us who think they've seen it all on this planet there is only one dimension waiting to be discovered - outer space. Exploring it has always been a dream of the human race. Space travel or tourism is not quite ready for the mass market yet, but anyone who has the necessary pocket change can already embark on a spaceship and look down on planet Earth while experiencing the absence of gravity.
Spacetravel Ltd, based in Virginia/USA, is the first and only company that offers commercial passenger flights to outer space. The first space tourist ever was the American multi millionaire Dennis Tito, who paid 20 million dollars for his trip to the International Space Station ISS in 2001 aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. The South African web entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth followed up as the first African tourist in space about a year later. In 2006 the Iranian-American business woman Anousheh Ansari became the first female space traveller. Several persons are queuing up for the same trip, including Google founder Sergey Brin who is expected to fly in 2011.
Spacetravel Ltd is about to get a fierce competitor in Virgin Galactic. Headed by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, this company seeks to become the first private space tourism provider that will regularly send civilians into outer space. Three days of training will be sufficient for a passenger to get ready for his flight. The initial price of the offering that is expected to be launched in 2008 is 200'000 dollars, the first 200 passenger seats are already booked out.
Another ambitious project lead by the German TALIS Institute aims at launching a rocket propelled spacecraft by 2011. It will carry a maximum of five passengers into suborbital space.
Who knows how long it will take until we will all be able to travel into outer space at affordable prices?