Hundreds of travelers have signed up to be among the first paying passengers aboard Virgin Galactic's trips to suborbital space.Â They have paid $200,000 per person and completed training for space travel.Â Virgin Galactic's first trip has over 360 people signed up.
These 'space tourists' will be traveling 62 miles above the Earth. A much shorter and cheaper trip compared to Russia's $40 million cost to ride on its Soyuz spacecraft and spend a few days aboard the international space station. A third company, Space Adventures is advertising suborbital trips for $102,000 per person.
Prices are coming down, even before space tourism has started taking off. The plunging prices are opening doors to consumers. Virgin Galactic's CEO, George Whitesides, expects numbers of travelers to grow to thousands and tens of thousands after the first flight successfully returns.
Virgin Galactic plans for every space traveler to undergo a three-day pre-flight launch preparation program immediately before each mission.Â Many have also undergone additional training called centrifuge training, to experience G-forces.
Virgin Galactic plans for each traveler to undergo a three-day pre-flight launch preparation program immediately before each mission. But many who've signed up, including King, have undergone centrifuge training to experience in-flight stresses stronger than gravity, known as G-forces.
According to CNN News, "Plans call for facilities accommodating about a half-million annual visitors to be finished in 18 to 24 months, including a restaurant, space exhibits and simulators that replicate G-forces and weightlessness."
What do you think these space tourists should be called? Astronauts or a completely different name?