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Recently there's been news about a company who will be offering balloon rides to the stratosphere for $125,000 (USD). Blue Origin hasn't announced the ticket prices for their flights yet, but the first passenger ticket auctioned off at $28 million, so the consumer price will presumably be similarly expensive.

Going to space sound great, but those prices are not attainable for the average traveler. However, I'd still be interested to know how close I actually can get to space on a tourist ticket. What's the highest I can fly for tickets less than $1,000 USD? How about less than $10,000?

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    Most commercial flights have a hight limit around 40-42k feet. Smaller private jets, like corporate jets, can reach 51,000 feet. But both are way for from the edge of space. For those prices, your best bet would be joining the Air Force and then maybe attempt either high altitude flight or to become an astronaut.
    – Mr_Bober
    Jun 28 '21 at 15:34
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    You can go up the CN Tower for $25. That gets you nearly .6% of the way into space and you can have a coffee when you get there.
    – Valorum
    Jun 28 '21 at 23:13
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    Do you want to come back? this proposal (phys.org/news/2010-01-space-cannon-payloads-orbit-video.html) estimated $250 per pound to go to orbit :)
    – Thomas
    Jun 28 '21 at 23:56
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    @GlenYates - Yes, but in both instances you'd need to bring your own coffee
    – Valorum
    Jun 29 '21 at 14:15
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While not under your $10k limit, I'd nominate the Edge of Space Jet Flight in Russia which advertises that for €17500 you get:

Probably the mightiest experience in the world: The Edge of Space flight in the MiG-29 Fulcrum. Depending on weather and temperature conditions, you can reach up to 20-22km altitude, though at least 17km is guaranteed. Only astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the ISS will fly higher at this point.

You can clearly see the curvature of the earth. The atmosphere looks like a blue fog, covering the earth far below. Above you, the sky turns very dark, sprinkled with innumerous stars. An incredible view which only a few people were able to enjoy so far!

However they say that this flight is currently not available and that there is a waiting list.

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    Unit conversion: 20-22 km is 65,600-72,200 feet; 17 km is 55,800 feet. Jun 29 '21 at 10:33
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    And for scale, the Kármán line is at 100 km ≈ 330,000 feet.
    – gidds
    Jun 29 '21 at 16:00
  • TBH, both FL72 and FL330 are still not that high above the earth. The view at both altitudes is closer to an airliner than the Apollo 11 earthrise photos people think of as "space". (The idea of having an altitude at which space starts was initially motivated by the US [mostly] wanting to establish that an orbiting satellite was not violating the territory of the countries it passed over).
    – Rich
    Jul 3 '21 at 3:18
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+500

Virgin Galactic received approval to carry passengers from the FAA recently, although they are probably some way away from selling tickets.

For a long time the highest-altitude relatively mainstream option was the Concorde, which cruised at around 56,000 ft/17.1 km on transatlantic flights; the vast majority of conventional aircraft fly transatlantic between about 29,000 and 41,000 ft for comparison. This is rather considerably short of outer space, conventionally defined as 100 km (328,084 ft), but high enough for the sky to darken and to see the curvature of the earth.

The Concorde was forced into retirement in 2003, but various large business jets like the Citation X+ and LearJet 75 are advertised with a maximum altitude of 51,000 ft, and the view from 50,000 ft is still pretty cool. They don't normally operate at this altitude of course, so it would take some legwork to charter, but it's something definitely in the realm of possibility for a resourceful person in an advanced economy.

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    I guess you probably can't charter a business jet that would get that high for $10,000. But it was possible for a while to fly the Concorde for next to nothing. In the 1990s, US Airways had a partnership with British Airways, and you could redeem a round trip on the Concorde for only 125,000 Dividend Miles. I remember this distinctly because I got into a heated argument with my roommate at the time, who had just spent 50,000 miles for a round trip from Washington DC to Miami.
    – choster
    Jun 28 '21 at 15:16
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    I hadn't realized that some biz jets could also hit 51k feet. Looking at the CiriationX+ I'm seeing charter costs at around $7K per hour and that one article I read said it can hit 41k feet in 23 minutes. So 2 hours of charter would be a lot cheaper than my answer. But you don't get the acrobatics!
    – Peter M
    Jun 28 '21 at 15:32
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    You're an order of magnitude off in your definition of "space" - it's widely understood to be 100km, not 1000 (by your own link).
    – throx
    Jun 28 '21 at 23:47
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    @throx Thanks, fixed. Ironically I originally had the customary measure correct, but then changed it to conform to the typo in the metric value.
    – choster
    Jun 28 '21 at 23:53
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    Who wants to organize a group? The Citation X+ can take up to a dozen people chartering one for a few hours to get that high can't be more than a few ten thousand dollars so it'd be a few thousand dollars per person. My email is chx1975 gmail com HMU if you are doing this, I am totally in.
    – chx
    Jun 30 '21 at 7:22

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