The Space Tourism Industry Is Already Planning Space Cruises, Hotels, and Currency

Tuesday, 21 April 2015 - 3:29PM
Weird Science
Tuesday, 21 April 2015 - 3:29PM
There are at least seven companies who are working on making commercial spaceflight a reality, including Virgin Galactic, Boeing, SpaceX, and World View Enterprises, the latter of which is working on a way to take tourists to space in a giant balloon. But once space tourism becomes technologically feasible, what will the tourists do? There is already a burgeoning space tourism industry that is making plans for space entertainment, including space cruises, space hotels, and even a space-specific currency, PayPal Galactic, which will be unveiled on June 27.

"There's a lot of quiet work going on," said John Spencer, founder of the Space Tourism Society, which describes itself as "the first organization specifically focused on the space tourism industry." His company focuses on questions like zero-gravity hairstyles, how to cook 5-star recipes in space, and how to entertain tourists on a space cruise. As we speak, there is a singer named Brightman who is training to travel to the ISS and become the first artist to perform in space.

Spencer claims that while commercial space travel will be made physically possible by companies like Boeing or SpaceX, it will fall on companies like his to provide the entertainment, which he calls the "space experience industry." His company's long-term plans include suborbital skydiving, zero-gravity ballet, space basketball, and a rover race around the moon's circumference.

Other companies have begun to capitalize on the imminent possibility of commercial spaceflight as well; a company called Space Adventures is the first travel agency exclusively for suborbital travel, while Cosmic Lifestyle Corp. aims to make extraterrestrial happy hour a reality with their 3-D printed cocktail glass that is specifically designed for drinking cocktails in zero gravity. 

But the Space Tourism Society is focused on space cruises, with Spencer claiming that commercial space travel is already similar to a cruise in the sense that "a complex piece of equipment... takes people out to a hostile environment like the ocean" with a business model to "extract as much money as possible." As he is also a NASA architect, Spencer's personal passion project is a "super yacht" called Destiny that could carry ten passengers and a full crew to space. 

Spencer admits that there are dangers associated with space travel; in addition to crashes, fires, and life support failure, there may also be a risk of cancer from the high levels of radiation onboard a spaceship. But he believes that his specific design will offset the latter risk: "Onboard my super yacht, I have the crew quarters in the most shielded area … so the crew members are getting the least radiation."

"As far as I know, I've never heard of anyone with real credibility say we can't do space because it's too dangerous."

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