Updated: February 19, 2020 1:49:34 pm
Private citizens could have an opportunity to fly into space and see the Earth from the highest ever altitude, given they’re ready to shell out around $50 million. That is how much per seat on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft will likely cost, which is expected to take up to four citizens to space by the end of 2021 or mid-2022.
For the mission, SpaceX has partnered with Space Adventures, a company that has taken seven private citizens to space since 2001. This will be the first free-flyer mission by Crew Dragon, a capsule that is to carry NASA astronauts Douglas G. Hurley and Robert L. Behnken to the International Space Station sometime between April and June.
The total duration of the mission is said to be up to five days, Space Adventures revealed in a promotional video. This will be a free-flying trip, which means the spacecraft will not dock at the International Space Station (ISS) but will orbit the Earth before returning. The trip promises to fly citizens further than Earth in the last 50 years or at altitudes two or three times higher than the ISS, which could be the highest ever since NASA’s Gemini human spaceflight program in 1960s.
To give a perspective, the ISS orbits the Earth at an altitude of around 408 kilometers. “This will provide up to four individuals with the opportunity to break the world altitude record for private citizen spaceflight and see planet Earth the way no one has since the Gemini program,” Space Adventures said in its release. Prior to the mission, the citizens will undergo a few weeks training in the US.
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The companies have not given out details of the mission as of now but the chairman of Space Adventures Eric Anderson hinted in a tweet that the per seat price for a full group of four could be around $50 million. “Definitive pricing confidential, and dependent on client specific requests etc,” he added.
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“This historic mission will forge a path to making spaceflight possible for all people who dream of it, and we are pleased to work with the Space Adventures’ team on the mission,” said Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer, SpaceX in a press release.
The Crew Dragon has made several supply runs to the station for NASA, though it has so far not carried humans to space. The spacecraft was developed after NASA awarded SpaceX and Boeing Co combined contracts worth up to $6.8 billion to fly US astronauts to the ISS. Earlier this year, SpaceX successfully demonstrated a crucial safety system of the Crew Dragon, paving way for crewed flights.
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