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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Commercial Spaceflight Is Getting Really Cheap, Really Fast

•, Gus Lubin

At a cost of $200,000 a seat, a ticket on Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic may not seem cheap. But consider two things.

First, look how much space travel used to cost, according to Space Florida:

Only about 500 people have traveled to space, and few have traveled to space commercially . The vast majority were professional astronauts and cosmonauts on government missions . A small number of industrial researchers,a Japanese journalist, and a chemist from the United Kingdom (who won a contest to fly to Mir in 1991) have flown on a paid basis on U.S. (NASA) or Russian government flights . The last decade has seen the first leisure travelers to space . Since 2001, seven individuals have purchased eight orbital flights (one passenger flew twice) for approximately $20 to $35 million per flight.

The price has fallen by over 99 percent in a decade.

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