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Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin have made sub-orbital space travel a reality for those travel adventurers and space explorers with the desire and disposable income to pay up to $450,000 for a ticket. Both of these companies have demonstrated that space tourism is a potentially massive market and, whilst not without risk, can be accomplished safely. As more companies like Space Perspective enter this fledgling market with their own innovative spaceflight solutions, travelers will inevitably be offered more choice as the market segments on price, transportation method and the longevity and quality of the experience, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
It could be argued that at this time segmentation in the space travel market is based on the simple functionality of launching a traveler into space and returning them safely back to earth. From lift off to touch down, a flight in Blue Origin’s New Shepard lasts 11 minutes, while an expedition on Virgin Galactic lasts between two to three hours. By comparison, Space Perspective plans to offer space tourists a more relaxing and luxurious experience, with a flight into the stratosphere scheduled to last six hours from lift off to touchdown.
Ralph Hollister, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “With such vast sums of money currently being paid for a ticket, the companies that can offer the best balance of a luxury experience – which you would expect at these price tags – with more time onboard, while maintaining a sense of safety and wellbeing throughout the flight, will deliver a better sense of value for money and a richer experience gained which will be more appealing to customers.”
Space Perspective plans to deliver a distinctly unique space travel experience focused on price, longevity and luxury. Space Perspective offers a markedly cheaper ticket price with tickets for its Spaceship Neptune being sold at $125,000 a seat. This price point is significantly lower than a current Virgin Galactic seat on its VSS Unity space plane, which costs $450,000.
Hollister adds: “Space Perspective’s current price point is hardly all inclusive, but it means that space travel is a possibility to a much wider pool of prospective space tourists. According to GlobalData’s macroeconomic database, 43% of US households are in the income bracket of $75,000+. This percentage suggests that there is a sustainable market for space travel in the US at the current pricing level – which is where Space Perspective is based and will launch from. However, prices will continue to come down, potentially opening up the market to millions.”
Sustainability is a key focus for Space Perspective. The travel experience is contained within a pressurized capsule attached to a balloon supported by hydrogen, which will carefully transport travelers to an altitude of approximately 100,000 feet. This will provide a relaxing journey without the need for jet fueled rockets as a propellant. The capsule, which will also have a bar, will offer space tourists an all-round view of the darkness of space and the curvature of the earth.
Sustainability is now one of the biggest consumer trends driving purchasing decisions, especially in tourism. All tourism companies are under increasing pressure to contribute towards decreasing harmful emissions and Space Perspective’s plans not to use jet fuel will appeal to the 45%* of global consumers, who say that environmental issues are now ‘extremely important’.
Hollister concludes: “The emerging market segment of ‘space balloon tourism’ is not just exclusive to Space Perspective. Companies such as World View are also looking to become leading players in space balloon experiences. At $50,000 per ticket, the company plans to offer an even lower price point, which will make the market less exclusive and drive further segmentation as companies grab a bigger slice of what is anticipated to be a growing cash rich market.”
* GlobalData’s Q3 2021 Consumer Survey