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Space Adventures

Space Adventures is currently the first and only commercial space tourism company to actually have sent tourists beyond Earth's atmosphere. To date, Space Adventures has sent five tourists to the International Space Station (ISS) for a reported cost of $20 million each. The price is now up in the $30 - $40 million range.

The tourists that Space Adventures has sent aloft include Dennis Tito (May 2001), Mark Shuttleworth (April 2002), Greg Olsen (October 2005), Anousheh Ansari (September 2006) and Charles Simonyi (April 2007).

The Space Adventures tourists traveled aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule and their adventure lasted between 7 and 10 days.

Besides flights to the ISS, Space Adventures is also developing excursions to the moon and suborbital space, space walks and also worldwide spaceports. Space Adventures is capable of carrying one tourist every six months to the ISS on what it calls a Russian "taxi missions", which piggybacks onto a set of cosmonauts swapping crew, with one crew returning to Earth.

Space Adventures is also capable of creating a customized trip to the ISS that isn't part of the regularly scheduled 6-month intervals. For instance, instead of the regular 7 - 10 day trip aboard the ISS, Space Adventures is also offering a 16-day trip complete with space walk.

What's at stake here is the chance to become the first private citizen to walk in space. Potential spacewalkers will train in Star City, Russia at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. Besides the traditional six months of training for the mission, the spacewalk training will require an additional month.

The spacewalk itself will last for approximately 90-minutes inside a Russian, Orlan spacesuit. The cost for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure is $45 - $55 million.

For those who think the ISS is a little too close to home and would like to venture farther out, there is always the first Space Adventures trip to the moon that will cost $100 million. If you're a Pink Floyd fan, here's your chance to finally travel to the dark side of the moon, as Space Adventures is offering some wealthy tourist the chance for a circumlunar mission that starts off on the Soyuz spacecraft, rendezvous' with a booster rocket and continues to where few men have gone before. This is an opportunity to see an Earthrise over the moon's surface.

Now, for those a little less adventurous (and rich) Space Adventures is offering a trip into suborbital space aboard its C-21 suborbital vehicle for a mere $102,000, which includes $4,000 in cancellation insurance. At 62 miles above the Earth's surface, tourists will experience five minutes of weightlessness and unique views of the Earth's surface that only a few astronauts and satellites have seen.

Now just how does Space Adventures plan to propel willing tourists into low Earth orbit (LEO)? Space Adventures is building spaceports in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

The Singapore spaceport will be complete with space camp for adults and children. Adult tourists will be able to train like astronauts in simulators and experience weightlessness and even simulated space walks. For those who don't want to go all the way to LEO they can experience weightlessness in high altitude Parabolic flights aboard an Aero L-39 Albatross jet trainer.

The spaceport in the United Arab Emirates will be an hour outside of Dubai. Flying rich oil sheiks into space may just be an untapped market. Then again, perhaps we will see Michael Jackson, escaping the paparazzi and taking a thriller of a ride there as well.

All kidding aside, though, Space Adventures, which was co-founded by Eric C. Anderson in 1997, is the leading space tourism company to date with more commercial flights to its credit than any other company. Expect to see Space Adventures continue to hold this lead for many years to come.


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