Cost of space tourism considered by panel


SUNNYVALE, Calif. – U.S. space tourists hoping to buy a ticket for a suborbital flight could expect to pay between $50,000 and $100,000 by 2014, analysts say.

For prices to drop that low, the commercial space tourism industry would have to reach the point of offering thousands of flights per year, reported Tuesday.

Some in the field are optimistic the industry could be offering that many flights in the near future, while others take a more pessimistic view.

“People have put down money to fly on [Virgin Galactic’s] SpaceShipTwo, but what is the long-term viability of the market?” A.C. Charania, president of the SpaceWorks Commercial consulting firm, asked. “After those pioneers fly, is this a sustainable service? We have a question on that from the analysis we’ve done.”

The future of the industry was discussed by a panel of experts at the Space Frontier Foundation’s annual conference in Sunnyvale, Calif., said.