Space Inflation and Billionaire Jaunts

Space tourism company Space Adventures Inc is having some inflation problems of late:
Each person spent roughly $20 million to $25 million for their multi-day stay at the ISS, flown to the orbital outpost and returned to Earth by a three-seat Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

But the days of prices that low are over, Anderson said in a July 15 telephone interview with Space News.

"Actually, it's $30 million now. For the next couple of seats, that's the price," Anderson said. That cost hike, among several factors, is due to the falling dollar - the ruble has appreciated some 50 percent against the dollar, he said. Another factor is simply the overall cost of inflation, he said.

"It is still the most economical and reliable, safest way to get to orbit," Anderson said of the venerable Soyuz.

The question is for how long? Just how long will it take before there are competitors in the space tourism marketplace?

It's obvious despite the doom and gloom of some that there is a real and true market for space tourism. Space Adventures even sees future 100 million dollar lunar jaunts for billionaires.

But before those scrupulous willy nillies out there go nuts at the suggestion that Billionaires actually spend their hard earned money on ridiculous adventures that are nothing but gluttonous indulgences I would ask them to consider that those billionaires may have ulterior motives:
"Coupled with the physical thrill is the sense that you are in some way pioneering ... you are committing yourself to a frontier, a commercial one, where your journey can make a difference and make more ambitious trips possible for future passengers. Out of such an industry should come more economical ways of getting cargo and astronauts to orbit for serious exploring, out beyond low Earth orbit. Even with the risks, it is win-win," Jones told Space News via e-mail.

And that's my guess about why many of those millionaires and billionaires are really forking off so much money: space pioneering.

Think about it, why would they be willing to give up so much of their money? This isn't an investment, it's an expense. There's no way to recoup these costs. And many of these yokels are probably committing a good chunk of their total worth to this industry.

Most of these guys that have gone up so far were space nerds as kids, and I bet most of them see this not just as a chance to fulfill a long held dream, but as a chance to help progress humanity to the point where everyone can afford one of these trips.

And as to why is it important that humanity get to the point where we're a space faring species? Two reasons: we can't have all our egss in one basket, and without challenges humanity has a way of turning inwards and destroying itself.

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