• International Insurance Blog

  • Sunday, March 18, 2018

Space tourism is a fledgling industry, born out of necessity, yet driven by the same curiosity and ambition that took humanity to the Moon. In Russia, Europe and the United States, private companies are already vying to become space tourism leaders. Space tourism is a recent phenomenon where wealthy individuals or corporations are spending up to $25 million for a chance to travel in low Earth orbit (LEO) and beyond.

Californian multi-millionaire Dennis Tito spent $20 million on space tourism to become the first paying tourist, in 2001. Tito, the founder of Wilshire Associates and former JPL scientist, traveled aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule, launched by U. S. company, Space Adventures, Ltd, where he spent 7 days aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Following Dennis Tito as the second to partake of the space tourism industry, in 2002 was South African millionaire, Mark Shuttleworth, who spent around $20 million to travel aboard a Russian Soyuz TM-34 and spend 8 days aboard the ISS. Following Shuttleworth in 2005, was Greg Olsen, who spent the same amount on tourism to travel to the ISS via a Russian Soyuz capsule. Olsen is co-founder and chairman of Sensors Unlimited Inc., a company developing infared cameras and sensors. In 2006, Iran-born American citizen Anousheh Ansari became the fourth in the ISS tourism lineup and the first female to buy a ticket in the space tourism industry.

Space tourism has been criticized as being a “playground for the rich.” And, while there may be some current truth to this, the vision for the future is to make space tourism affordable and available to the middle class in just a few, short years.

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