SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket flies to the International Space Station after blasting off from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 23, 2021 in Cape Canaveral. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Booking a flight has always meant a seat on an airplane, but now, if you have the money, you can book yourself a flight to space on a rocket.
“We’re travel agents to the stars! We’re out of this world,” joked Roman Chiporukha, CEO of Roman & Erica, Inc.
Chiporukha just booked a client a ticket to travel 220 miles above Earth, up to the International Space Station.
“We are essentially a mix between a really well connected concierge, a top-level personal assistant, and the most amazing luxury travel adviser,” Chiporukha explained. “Our clients call us and they say, ‘Find me a nanny, book me a trip, sell my car, buy me a bag, call me tomorrow with an update.’”
They’ve recently expanded their services into space travel and just sold their first package.
“The trip was purchased for $50 million, though future trips with this particular company are $55 million per person for a 10-day mission to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX capsule. You’re required to do about four months of training, which is between Houston, Germany, and Star City in Russia.”
It’s not required, but participants are strongly encouraged to have a mission in mind for their visit.
“Instead of checking into the Four Seasons, you’re checking into the International Space Station, so it’s not like you can go for a walk, take a dip in the pool. You want to occupy your time with something substantial. Most of these folks who are going up there are working with existing institutions, whether it be hospitals or other research foundations, to do things that are of interest to them that are also of benefit to humanity. Otherwise, you’re just floating around zero gravity asking the astronauts, ‘What’s this, what’s that?’ There is work to be done and a sense of purpose.”
It’s called space tourism, but for a mission like this, you don’t necessarily get a tour guide.
“No, the astronauts up there are not catering to your every whim, you are one of them. Which is part of why the purpose of your being up there is so important. I don’t really look at this as a joyride or a vacation. This is really meaningful stuff.”
But Roman & Erica sells other experiences for those looking for more of a thrill.
View a list of exclusive space experiences here.
“There’s a whole landscape of these private astronaut experiences that people haven’t considered. They’re much more affordable and I say ‘affordable’ with quotes. You can do a zero gravity flight, that I just experienced two weeks ago with ZERO-G, and that’s $6,700. You can experience what it feels like to walk on a lunar surface, a Martian surface, and zero gravity. You can do centrifuge training that resembles the g-forces that you’ll experience upon going up in the rocket or reentry. You can try on a pressurized astronaut space suit.”
“All you hear in the news is, ‘Billionaire Goes To Space!’ That’s great, and we need to support those individuals because they are pioneers, and we will stand on their shoulders and hopefully our children can go for $50,000 10 years from now. But there are a lot of other things for the general public to consume.”
Chiporukha thinks these purpose-driven trips to space are just the beginning of a new way of life for future humans.
“I truly believe that we’re meant to be a space faring species.”
Listen to Rachel Belle’s James Beard Award nominated podcast, “Your Last Meal.” Follow @yourlastmealpodcast on Instagram!
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