Fast facts: 

  • As of right now (2021), the cost of booking a trip to space in the near future is approximately $250,000.
  • The immediate cost of a trip to space (via something like SpaceX) in the next 2-3 years is in the tens of millions per passenger.
  • In the medium-future, the cost of individual tickets into space will drastically fall in price.
  • Based on estimations, it is likely that the cost of space tourism tickets will be around $10,000 – $25,000 within the next twenty years.

How much will it cost for a private citizen to travel to space?

Since the Champion Traveler research team is heavily focused on private travel (as opposed to how much it costs astronauts to fly to space), all data used in this article will be based on the idea of privatized space tourism. This industry is expected to hit a major milestone in the 2020s, and it is likely that space tourism will become not only more common but more affordable within the next twenty to fifty years.

As of right now, based on early estimations from several major private space exploration companies (SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic), the first privatized space travel will cost adventurous travelers somewhere around $250,000 for a short trip into Earth’s orbit. This quarter of a million dollar price tag for private space tourism will likely include somewhere between a few hours and a few days orbiting the Earth.

This type of space travel will remain expensive for several years, but as all things improve and become more efficient within the process, the cost will very likely start to decrease within a matter of years. There is likely a heavier price tag on the first couple of trips simply because of the historic nature of them. As market demand balances out and more space tourism is available, it seems likely the cost of a ticket for a short adventure into space will be somewhere around $10,000 to $25,000 depending on the length of the trip and the number of passengers included on each flight.

When will space travel become more affordable?

As of right now (2021), space travel is more likely a pipe dream for many than a realistic vacation. A quarter of a million dollars for one trip into outer space is likely not something many people will be able to afford in the short term. But as costs drop and space tourism becomes more efficient (and likely sees more competition), ticket prices for space travel will fall back down to Earth.

As for how long this will take, within 20 years (by about the year 2040), space travel should see a gradual decrease in price to somewhere in the $10,000 – $25,000 range (in 2021 dollars) where it will likely flat line for a while based on current cost estimations of scale, fuel costs, production costs, and regulation.

It is possible that we will see privatized space tourism drop down to somewhere in the $5,000 – $10,000 range as well if more competition enters the market if demand stays high.

Will space travel ever be cheaper than air travel?

The problem with comparing space travel to the current price of air travel is that the current market for air travel remains in high demand for both tourism and business purposes.

In the medium term, the only purpose that space travel as tourism will serve is for quick trips into space and back. There won’t be necessarily, at least in the foreseeable future, a spike in travel demand for business purposes and thus the overall market demand for space tourism will remain relatively small.

Because of this, it is very unlikely that we will ever see space tourism anywhere near comparable flights for something like a transatlantic flight to Europe from the United states for $500-700.

When will space travel be available to more people?

Based on current development of spaceships capable of carrying a larger number of private citizens, we expect that by the 2030s it will be possible to book a ticket via one of the current major space exploration brands (SpaceX, Blue Origin), and that we also will likely see between two and five new companies enter the market in that time.

With a growing number of companies producing spacecraft capable of allowing for space tourism, there will likely be hundreds of available seats in a given year within the next decade, and thousands of available seats a year after that.

Is space tourism safe?

This is something nobody has enough of a firm grasp on to say definitively one way or the other just yet, but it seems fair to assume given how long it has taken to commercialized space travel, that the early flights will take every precaution possible.

It’s fully reasonable to expect that over the course of space tourism expansion there will be accidents and likely death, but at the same time, the same can still be said about traditional air travel. While statistically considered extremely safe, there will always be a minimal amount of risk associated with any type of travel.

What companies offer private space travel?

There are many now-defunct companies who have tried to establish footing in space tourism, but as of now there seem to be three main companies we will be watching closely when it comes to offering one of the grandest possible adventures for private citizens:

  • SpaceX – Led by Elon Musk, this company seems the most likely to begin ramping up space tourism within the next two decades. They have a planned launch for their first space tourists in the coming two years.
  • Virgin Galactic – Led by Richard Branson, this company has been around the longest (of the surviving companies), but has yet to launch their first commercial space tourists into space.
  • Blue Origin – Led by Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin has focused mostly on commercial space travel, but has also discussed expanding their efforts into personal space travel in the near future.