The Future of Commercial Space Travel and Technological Challenges

After decades of government-centric space programs dominating the space industry, private space travel companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin are emerging to make commercial space travel an achievable goal. Less wealthy nations also now have access to space by contracting with private system operators for satellites and rocket launch services.


Travel to space has long been a dream of many, yet the technology to make it a reality only recently emerged. Multiple studies have demonstrated that most members of society are willing to pay significant sums to visit orbit; however, such trips won’t become common until affordable and reliable transportation systems have been created – this task being addressed by several private companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.

Both Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are creating spacecrafts to bring fare-paying tourists into space for the first time ever. Both companies’ vehicles will feature reusable rockets that can fly multiple times before needing major maintenance – dramatically cutting costs of each flight and offering luxurious experiences to passengers aboard them; Virgin plans on providing private suites and a restaurant onboard its VSS Unity vehicle while Blue’s New Shepard spacecraft offers panoramic Earth views and provides weightlessness sensation.

As these developments proceed, the industry will need to develop regulations for space tourism. The FAA must establish safety guidelines for these new flights while NASA should create protocols for emergency response and rescue operations. In addition, an infrastructure for monitoring debris in Earth’s orbit which may damage or destroy spacecraft during launch or reentry should also be developed.

Companies hope to develop technology enabling people to live permanently in space, and Orbital Assembly Corporation is building two ring-shaped space stations in Florida intended to offer this luxury accommodation. Each station can host 28 guests at any given time across two spaces with amenities such as gyms, restaurants and bars – this project will open Pioneer Station first with Voyager Station following suit soon after that.

Space travel offers humanity the chance to discover worlds beyond Earth, potentially leading to colonization of other solar systems. Aside from being exciting, such travel will also benefit humanity by giving access to abundant resources found out there – asteroids and the moon contain metal-rich resources, while lunar helium-3 could reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

Space Tourism

Many people aspire to visit outer space, yet its costs remain prohibitively expensive for most individuals. With technological advances making space travel increasingly affordable over time, more people may soon experience spaceflight – and governments and private companies alike are working toward making spaceflight more cost-effective for tourists.

Space travel typically occurs via rocket, with these vessels designed to launch humans into orbit and launch satellites for communication, navigation and other purposes. Reusable rockets could even allow space tourists to spend weeks or months out there without returning back down for fueling stops.

Space travel has already become an option for some rich individuals. Billionaires such as Richard Garriott, founder of a computer game company and Guy Laliberte, owner of Cirque du Soleil have taken to spaceflights in order to witness Earth from an elevated perspective.

Space tourism companies are working on commercial suborbital flights that will give ordinary people an exciting perspective of our world from above. Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and SpaceX all have vehicles capable of transporting non-astronaut passengers into low Earth orbit while NASA recently opened up the International Space Station for non-astronaut visitors.

SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, two private spaceflight companies, are offering spaceflight tickets to the general public at an additional fee. However, these trips are only open to those able to afford the price tag which currently stands at $250,000 per seat; over time however this cost could potentially decrease as companies develop new technologies that reduce development times.

Some experts believe that commercial space tourism will encourage humans to protect the earth more carefully. According to them, astronauts have reported experiencing something called the Overview Effect that can dramatically shift human attitudes about environmental protection.

Even with its steep price tag, there is growing interest in space tourism and even colonizing other planets. A survey revealed that young Chinese respondents were willing to pay more for trips into space than their American counterparts. Furthermore, Orbital Assembly Corporation recently unveiled their plan for two space hotels by 2025 that will offer viewing platforms, artificial gravity platforms, spa services, 3D holograms, digital wall art displays, viewing platforms and artificial gravity for guests who wish to stay overnight at one.


While space travel remains expensive and uncommon, private entrepreneurs such as Paul Allen, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson have taken steps to reduce its risks as commercial players like plane makers take charge. It could become as commonplace as air travel within years – all business models must implement safety precautions so travelers are safe; for the same reason certified vehicles must be used.

At present, private companies are producing space vehicles on their own and must rely on NASA tests to demonstrate that their craft are capable of reaching outer space safely. Should anything go amis, the FAA could step in with regulations, though doing so in response to tragedy might result in hasty decisions that limit innovation while protecting public interests, according to experts. Furthermore, any retroactive crackdown would hurt spacecraft makers financially.

NASA is funding four different companies – SpaceX and Blue Origin among them – to develop commercial spacecraft; but none is likely ready by 2023 for use as tourist transport vehicles.

Maintaining the health of tourists travelling into space will be an immense challenge. Many potential passengers are middle-aged individuals with histories of health conditions that increase the risks for spaceflight. Fluid redistribution during spaceflight could increase blood pressure in the skull and cause life-threatening brain bleeds; alternatively, it might trigger asthmatic symptoms by redistributing airway-closing mucus in their lungs and closing off airway passageways.

As the industry inches closer to launching its inaugural tourist flights, government oversight may need to adjust accordingly. But some senior government overseers oppose imposing new regulations before space tourism companies have learned from past mistakes; such action could backfire and produce backlashes against space tourism that cripple it even before launch.

Environmental Impact

Space commercial ventures currently under development range from selling seats on private spaceships for tourists, with the inaugural flights expected later this year, to mining, energy development and pharmaceutical research – with companies seeking to turn space into an economic frontier.

Just like every new frontier such as physical casino instead of online ones as described on, space travel will have an environmental cost. Launching rockets and spaceplanes into orbit requires massive quantities of fuel – the reusable SpaceX Dragon capsule that docked with the International Space Station last April used more than four tons for its voyage while Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane uses approximately five tons per passenger flight.

SpaceX and Blue Origin have developed reusable vehicles to reduce the carbon footprint associated with travel, but this requires substantial capital investments that may not be within reach for all businesses, and it remains uncertain if their technology is ready for commercial implementation.

Still, with sufficient demand, one might anticipate that prices for commercial space flights will come down over time. At present, tickets costing $250,000 are out of most people’s financial reach – though Bezos has hinted that ticket costs may eventually decrease, this likely only after companies have developed enough of a market for these trips.

Note that space tourism caters primarily to the very wealthy. Beyond the high ticket price, trips of this nature tend to be risky and uncertain – two aspects governments are unlikely to regulate even if deemed safe.