The t ourism s pace r ace

Australian T3 - - OPINION -

Vir­gin and Space Ex­pe­di­tion Cor­po­ra­tion aren’t your only op­tions in the star-crossed travel brochure. You can also hitch a ride to the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion.

Space Ad­ven­tures used to of­fer lifts there aboard Rus­sia’s Soyuz cap­sules be­tween 2001 and 2009, al­beit at a hefty cost of $21 to $42 mil­lion.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is now plan­ning to whisk people away on its Fal­con rock­ets and Dragon cap­sule. The cargo-only Fal­con 9 launches this year, with pas­sen­gers join­ing in 2015. At first it will be used by NASA, but in time there should be room for guests.

Sim­i­larly, Boe­ing is build­ing a cap­sule dubbed the CST-100 to carry crew to space on At­las 5 rock­ets.

How­ever, the cra­zi­est plan comes from the Space Is­land Project, which will use so­lar en­ergy gen­er­ated by satel­lites to fund its mis­sion. It prom­ises to build a rental space in space by 2020, able to house 20,000 people, with the pop­u­la­tion doubling ev­ery decade.

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