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We've seen promises from "by the year 2000", 2003, floating hotels by 2007, and so on. Now we have the first cargo ship by a private company ACTUALLY dock with the ISS, hooray! SpaceshipTwo with Virgin Galactic is finally doing test flights.

However, I can't find any info on their webpages or press releases - a couple of times they've said "in the next two years".

What's the earliest PUBLISHED date any current companies have set for a launch for a tourist flight? (excluding NASA or Russian flights)

edit

As I said, excluding NASA or Russian flights, and really mean 'mass' tourism - available to those who aren't millionaires.

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I suspect even the first true, undisputed tourism of space will only be affordable to millionaires (even if the ticket price is miraculously well under the $1M/€1M mark). I think a better criteria needs to be set than "affordable to non-millionaires." Perhaps: Tickets available to the general public? –  Flimzy May 30 '12 at 2:56
    
well Virgin Galactic is selling tickets for far less than that - US$200k. –  Mark Mayo May 30 '12 at 3:04
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If you can afford a US$200k vacation, you're probably a millionaire. :) –  Flimzy May 30 '12 at 3:05
    
To Space, or to Orbit? (They're different!) Virgin Galatic for example are only getting into space but not with an orbital velocity –  Gagravarr May 30 '12 at 9:49
    
Space. Although personally I think first flights should include an orbit, I think the definition should involve seeing the blackness of space, and getting some weightlessness in there. –  Mark Mayo May 30 '12 at 15:49
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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Virgin Galactic is now saying it will be in 2013 ( http://m.engadget.com/2012/07/15/richard-branson-confirms-virgin-galactics-first-space-tourism-f/ and http://www.virgingalactic.com/news/item/xxx/ ) and $200,000 per person. I have no affiliation; a friend of mine is on the waiting list. As http://www.virgingalactic.com/booking/ explains, your choices are to pay the entire refundable amount up front and be sure of a seat on the first flight (thus becoming one of the first thousand people in space, since about 500 people have been on NASA or Soviet missions and a little over 500 are on this list), or pay $20,000 and join the waiting list.

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Wish I had $200k right about now.... –  Mark Mayo Jul 19 '12 at 17:26
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Looks like that didn't happen :/ –  Mark Mayo Jan 31 at 2:51
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Space tourism has been taking place since 2001

The first real space tourist1 was Dennis Tito, spending a week on the ISS in mid-2001. The trip cost him about $20 million US and was organized by Space Adventures, who organized a total of 8 trips for 7 tourists (Charles Simonyi went twice) to the ISS between 2001 and 2009. All trips were made aboard Soyuz-TMA spacecraft. The most recent trips cost around $30-$35 million US. The program is currently on hold, but set to resume next year:

On January 12, 2011, Space Adventures and the Russian Federal Space Agency announced that orbital space tourism would resume in 2013 with the increase of manned Soyuz launches to the ISS from four to five per year.

1 The term "space tourist" is disputable.

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sorry, but as I specifically said, excluding NASA or Russian flights :/ –  Mark Mayo May 29 '12 at 19:35
    
There are no others that have even a year set yet. Virgin Galactic sells "priority seating", but does not specify any date. –  Ingmar May 29 '12 at 19:38
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Also note that while the seats were on Russian flights, Space Adventures is a privately held company with commercial interests. –  Ingmar May 29 '12 at 19:43
    
Sure, but - again, not what was asked. In addition that was barely tourism - but I know what you mean. I'll update the question to clarify a bit more. –  Mark Mayo May 29 '12 at 20:04
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