More than 30 years ago I was told to expect space tourism in my lifetime, and now it looks like it will happen.
Since Dennis Tito's flight in 2001, Space Adventures has already sent seven paying tourists into orbit aboard Russian Soyuz capsules, staying a week at the International Space Station. These ultra-rich businessmen and women paid at least $20million for their trips, and had to endure months of training before the Russian and American space agencies would clear them to fly.
In the next decade, companies from Virgin Galactic and SpaceX to Bigelow Aerospace are poised to launch tourists into space for six-figure prices, first on short sub-orbital flights and then to dedicated orbital space hotels. Sure it'll still be expensive, but as more space tourism entrepreneurs start to compete, holidays in space are sure to get cheaper.
Here at Holiday in Space, we'll be keeping tabs on the space tourism industry, cheering those pushing it forward and booing those dragging it down.