Space tourism boom as companies sees stiff-neck competition in the sector

Published on : Monday, October 18, 2021

In space tourism sector, stiff-neck competition has started. One of the first companies to provide space travel is introducing a comeback by blasting into orbit with a Japanese billionaire.


This U.S.-based company, Space Adventures and Russia are waiting with bated breath to see in December when they’ll be all set to send Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese online retail tycoon to the International Space Station (ISS) in the middle of an outbreak of non-professional launches.


“It’s a very exciting time for us,” Space Adventures President Tom Shelley told AFP in Moscow defining this moment with the space tourism sector as “very interesting”.


“There is a much more heightened awareness in the marketplace,” Shelley, 48, said.


Over a decade, it’s the first launch of the company after halting trips to the ISS when NASA bought up seats on Russia-operated flights and no seats remained in other vehicles capable of making the journey.


The return of Shelley’s company to the industry with Russia’s space agency was achieved after the successful flight of SpaceX in 2020 that delivered astronauts to the ISS, making NASA less dependent on Russian spacecraft.


Its launch with Maezawa comes after several other trips. In 2021, SpaceX had sent its first all-civilian crew on a trip around the orbit of the Earth, as Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic carried on their maiden suborbital missions.


In early October, Russia’s agency Roscosmos had sent an actress and film crew to the ISS to shoot the first film in space.
Private spaceflight is “not just something that has been talked as something for the future, but it is happening now”, Shelley said.


But with the emerging competition, he said the company was now “trying to innovate and find new offerings”.

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