Traveling to new places is exciting. It certainly is for me, and I’m sure it is for anybody who loves the thrill of traveling. Here’s an idea for you. You don’t need a passport for this trip, but it’s a trip that will take you where only a select few have gone before. It’s the stuff only dreams are made of. But here in the 21st century, it’s anything but a dream. Did you know that private citizens can book a trip to outer space? No, this isn’t a joke or a prank. There are private companies that operate space shuttles, and anyone can book a trip? I didn’t know about it. If you knew, you’re in the minority. I had heard about it off and on through the years, but I never realized it was an available option. In the industry it’s loosely called space tourism, a term defined as recreational space travel for business or leisure purposes.
It sounds exciting to some, but others might be hesitant. Some people have the image of the Challenger disaster ingrained in their minds. But there are many successful voyages by professionals and amateurs. You might consider this excursion for yourself. If you’re one of those people who can easily spot the Big Dipper, and distinguish it from the Little one, if you ever were in awe gazing at the moonlit sky or entertained by the Milky Way at a planetarium, you will quickly understand the appeal for space travel. It also might appeal to those who may have dreamt of being an astronaut but let that dream fizzle out. This is a second chance to try and rekindle that dream.
Several companies now offer the service, one of which is Virgin Galactic, a sister company to Virgin Airlines. When I read the advertisements about their trips, they make it sound kind of sexy. Rather than call their patrons passengers or customers, they address them as astronauts. The ‘astronaut’ label is a big draw for hard core space aficionados. Are you interested? Well, get out that American Express, because it’s not cheap. Virgin Galactic charges a flat fee of $250,000. A competing company, XCOR Space Expeditions has different pricing categories that range from $50,000 to $100,000. Any takers?