Space travel is inarguably the next frontier for travelers to conquer. Nearly the entire planet has been taken over by people simply trying to have adventures. The next step is for travelers, not just astronauts, to explore something other than Earth. Russia has been a pioneer in allowing regular tourists to board spacecraft and leave the atmosphere.
Eight non-astronauts have already flown to space under the Russian flag since 2001. That number is about to grow since the country signed a new deal, which plans to send two regular people to the International Space Station by the end of 2021. Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, made the decision to sign a deal to do so with the company Space Adventures. Space Adventures is one of the world’s first space tourism agencies. The Russian space agency has explained that the trip to space is not a cheap endeavor. It’s safe to assume that the two lucky tourists are paying a premium for this chance.
Roscosmos explained that the reason they chose to support space tourism is for the funding it provides their future programs. The high cost the guests pay for the trip is set aside to fund the future of their space exploration. They are also gaining a good deal of publicity because of this adventure, but the choice is more about funding and development than anything else.
Roscosmos isn’t the only agency working hard at developing more accessible space tourism. Elon Musk has been famously developing spacecraft with his company, Tesla. He believes space tourism is more accessible than ever. Even Virgin Galactic has been testing space ships meant to bring regular people into space. Government agencies like Roscosmos and NASA, as well as private industries, are all trying to get in on space tourism before it takes off- literally.