Commercial space travel gaining foothold in tourism industry
Vacation in space is fast becoming a reality as several companies launch commercial programs to get civilians into space. Questions about sustainability and risk remain, and the price is prohibitive to everyone but the ultra-rich. Mark Strassmann has more.
- Well, some people's summer vacation plans really are out of this world. Billionaire Jeff Bezos is planning a spin in the cosmos next month. And today someone offered $ 28 million to join him. In total, the auction attracted more than 7,500 bids from 159 countries. This is Mark Strassmann from CBS.
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- This is the beginning of a revolution in space travel. And Blue Origin will get you there.
MARK STRASSMANN: In the Blue Origin vision, your ticket into space is a rocket away. Company founder Jeff Bezos will be the first to ascend next month, an 11-minute flight to the edge of space.
JEFF BEZOS: I've wanted to do that all my life.
MARK STRASSMANN: Space, the final frontier of tourism. Private companies are turning science fiction into reality. Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic plans to fly customers on suborbital flights for the next year. 600 people paid up to a quarter of a million each for a future seat in advance.
SIR RICHARD BRANSON: People want to go into space, should go into space because they come back changed.
MARK STRASSMANN: You go up as a tourist; Come down as an astronaut.
JARED ISAACMAN: This is where you get strapped in.
MARK STRASSMANN: Billionaire Jared Isaacman chartered a SpaceX spaceship for a three-day orbit called Inspiration 4. A crew of four will fly higher than the space station. They are all civilians.
JARED ISAACMAN: This is a first. That is meaning. That is responsibility responsibility.
MARK STRASSMANN: The first responsibility that there will be a second and a third and a fourth?
JARED ISAACMAN: Absolutely, you have to get this right in order for all of the other great missions to follow.
MARK STRASSMANN: There are special packages for the International Space Station, even a planned orbit around the moon. But many unanswered questions. Is the space tourism market sustainable? What about risk and access? Today's ticket prices defy gravity and most people's budgets.
ALAN LADWIG: And of course I hope that the costs will finally go down.
MARK STRASSMANN: Alan Ladwig, formerly at NASA, has just written a book called "See You in Orbit".
ALAN LADWIG: I think a lot of people want to leave for a lot of different reasons, to give their life meaning, to do something different. But I also think that some people just want to go because they can afford it and it will be a lot of fun.
MARK STRASSMANN: Inspiration for crew member Sian Proctor believes future access is key.
SIAN PROCTOR: Open space for everyone, i.e. just, just, diverse and integrative space.
MARK STRASSMANN: Right now it's about becoming the ultimate vacation selfie. Space tourists, prepare to take off. Mark Strassmann, CBS News, Atlanta.
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