The China Global Television Network recently reported that China is looking into offering space rides to commercial passengers by 2025, including suborbital flights, cargo flights, and trips to Chinese Space Station. For instance, suborbital flights are expected to be priced at 2 and 3 million yuan (or $287,200 to $430,800).
Given the growing U.S. space industry with its own range of space flight options, it was only a matter of time that China would enter this commercial space race. Russia has been in the game the longest, having sold seats to U.S. astronauts hoping to reach the International Space Station (ISS) following the demise of the space shuttle.
Not to be outdone, NASA has also announced plans to take commercial passengers to the ISS at $55 million per seat. According to Tech Times, NASA is seeking commercial partners for two such flights per year starting as early as 2023. We have already discussed the Axiom Mission 1 (or AX-1 mission) to the ISS earlier this year at about the same price, so this is not a new idea. I guess the Axiom Mission 1 went well enough for NASA to see this as a regular operation.
A variety of space travel options from a variety of countries and commercial suppliers shows that playing in space can be both fun and profitable. Just ask Captain Kirk.
That is fine, as long as the tourists do not get in the way of the real work that is being conducted. With the taxpayers still footing most of the space-faring bill, we do not want space travel to be seen as only a luxury for the wealthy (similar to electric vehicles in the U.S., up to now). Space and related space travel should be seen as something belonging to everyone.