With the exciting news that Virgin Galactic’s first space flight is weeks away, the door has opened for space tourism – if you’ve got $250,000 to spare, that is.
Entrepreneur extraordinaire Sir Richard Branson and his two adult children, Holly and Sam, will be on the first flight, but not long after, expect waves of celebrity and ultra-wealthy astronauts to be boldly going where very few have gone before.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Ashton Kutcher, among others, have already booked their flights. As too, has Virtuoso Travel chief executive Matthew Upchurch, who managed to grab a seat on the inaugural flight and says that space tourism is luxe travel’s next big thing.
“As Richard [Branson] said, we’re still sitting here after watching Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin land on the moon, and it’s taken this long to make it a reality,” Mr Upchurch told Travel Weekly.
Mr Upchurch’s company will be one of two outlets where fares can be purchased.
“There are only two ways to buy tickets, one is direct and the other is through accredited space agents and most of the Australian accredited space agents are Virtuoso,” he said.
“There’s one funny thing about selling space. I have yet to run into a client who can take it or leave it. People fall in one or two categories, either it’s their dream, or you couldn’t pay them to go. There is no middle ground.”
Mr Upchurch believes that, while it may cost $250,000 for a ticket initially, he expects more accessible rates in the future. He also expects space tourism to change the future of travel.
“One of the reasons I love travel is that whenever you go somewhere new, it opens up your mind, you see things from a different perspective, and you grow,” he said.
“Every single person who has gone to space, talks about how life-changing it is. How being disconnected from this earth for even a small amount of time just changes your perspective.”
Would you buy a ticket to space? How much would you think was a reasonable fare?