In February 2020, the space tourism company Space Adventures announcedthat it has booked a Crew Dragon mission with SpaceX that should not go to the International Space Station. Instead, the spacecraft should fly to an orbit twice that of the ISS with four customers on board. There the tourists should circle the earth for five days.
After the first announcement, the mission went quiet. In particular, there was no information about the booking status, which is unusual for this type of offer. Now the company has admitted that the contract with SpaceX had to be abandoned in the meantime.
Space Adventures was therefore unable to find passengers for this trip. After the recently successfully completed Inspiration4 mission, which SpaceX had organized and carried out itself, this is a bit surprising. After all, it looked as if this longer travel format was the future of space tourism.
“The mission was marketed to a large number of our potential customers, but ultimately the mix of price, timing and experience was not right at this point and our contract with SpaceX was running out,” company spokeswoman Stacey Tearne told Spacenews. “We hope that we can take up the offer again in the future.”
It seems conceivable, of course, that Space Adventures could have priced far too high. After it became clear that the Inspiration4 mission cost around $ 200 million in total, potential customers may have been put off by the possibly higher prices at Space Adventures.
It also seems conceivable that the number of those willing to pay 50 million for one of four seats in the Crew Dragon capsule, accept considerable inconvenience and spend several days in orbit, is somewhere around four. We’ll see how Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic’s tourist flights sell. They are still very expensive, but they are below a million and accommodate the all experience in a single day – with the actual flight only taking a quarter of an hour.
Space Adventures is a veteran of space travel. The company, which was founded in the early 2000s, has already sent a number of tourists into space – but most recently in 2009.
Aside from the now canceled SpaceX trip, Space Adventures will bring the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and his assistant to the International Space Station this December. For this, the company booked a Russian Soyuz capsule instead of a SpaceX spaceship.
Axiom Space also plans to bring a four-person tourist crew to the International Space Station in early 2022. Among them will be a former NASA astronaut and an as yet unnamed but very rich entrepreneur.
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SpaceX booking canceled: space tourism company cannot find passengers