Competition intensifies in space tourism market

    A serious competition is expected in the space tourism market. In addition to the well-known Virgin Galactic company with SpaceShipTwo aircraft, tourists will be launched into orbit by Dream Chaser ships with vertical take-off and rocket engines. Instead of 2.5 hours, they enter the stratosphere in 15 minutes at the same ticket price of $ 200 thousand.

    The founder of the new travel agency Benson Space is Jim Benson. He said that by 2015 he plans to bring the level of annual income to $ 200 million, that is, he will send three tourists per day into orbit. According to Jim Benson, his competitor Richard Branson with his SpaceShip can safely leave the business, because nothing shines for him here. Although Benson is not as rich and famous as a competitor, he already sent products to space: he was the main shareholder of SpaceDev, which produced parts for NASA's rovers and for the revolutionary SpaceShipOne.

    According to state experts, by 2021, 15,000 passengers will be sent into orbit annually, which will bring $ 700 million a year to travel agencies. Naturally, this market attracts the attention of businessmen.

    Virgin Galactic is currently building the first five copies of SpaceShipTwo and has planned test flights for 2008, and commercial launches will begin in 2009. Two hundred future passengers have already paid for tickets and are waiting in line for space.

    Competitors from Benson Space say their shuttles will reduce the cost of tickets to $ 50 thousand in just five years. Such a ship with six SpaceDev rocket engines will be able to deliver tourists into space in just 15 minutes. Virgin Galactic engineers say that a low cost will have to pay for the risk of life, because rocket acceleration and separation of stages are not a well-controlled process. However, thousands of people will surely be willing to pay for the pleasure of looking at the globe, even with a risk to their lives.

    via Business 2.0

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