What will space tourists get when they fly with SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic? Spacesuits, sleeping bags ... and Jeff Bezos

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What will space tourists get when they fly with SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic? Spacesuits, sleeping bags ... and Jeff Bezos
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk (left), Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos (center), and Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson. Patrick Pluel/Getty; Alex Wong/Getty; Hollis Johnson/Insider
  • Virgin Galactic's $250,000 ticket to the edge of space includes a spacesuit.
  • Passengers paying $55 million for SpaceX's mission to the ISS get sleeping bags, hygiene products.
  • Blue Origin's $28 million spaceflight comes with a seat next to Jeff Bezos.

The era of space tourism has dawned.

Richard Branson is scheduled to blast off in Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity on Sunday for the company's first fully-crewed rocket-powered test flight.

If the launch goes ahead as planned, he'll be 9 days ahead of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who plans to travel to the edge of space on July 20 in Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft.

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Meanwhile, SpaceX's private mission with Axiom Space is scheduled to fly four passengers to the International Space Station (ISS) in early 2022.

The journeys certainly aren't cheap. Trips aboard Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity will cost passengers $250,000 apiece. A seat on Blue Origin's New Shepard craft was auctioned off at $28 million in June. And the four passengers traveling to the ISS on SpaceX's Crew Dragon will pay a cool $55 million a head.

The question is, what bang will they get for their buck?

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SpaceX and Axiom

What will space tourists get when they fly with SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic? Spacesuits, sleeping bags ... and Jeff Bezos
The Crew Dragon Endeavour approaches the International Space Station with the Crew-2 astronauts on board, April 24, 2021. NASA

A ticket for Axiom's mission to the ISS will include:

  • Training
  • Mission planning
  • Life support
  • Medical support
  • Crew provisions
  • Eight days aboard the ISS

Staying on the ISS costs the astronauts about $6.8 million a day, NASA told The Verge in January.

According to NASA's 2021 price list, it should cost $2,000 per crew member per day for food and drinks aboard the ISS. It'll also cost each person as much as $1,500 per day for things like clothing, hygiene products, office supplies, and sleeping bags.

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Blue Origin

What will space tourists get when they fly with SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic? Spacesuits, sleeping bags ... and Jeff Bezos
Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos sits in the capsule of the company's New Shepard rocket. Isaiah J. Downing/Reuters

The unnamed winner of Blue Origin's auction will accompany Jeff Bezos and his brother on an 11-minute trip on the New Shepard craft. For their $28 million they will be getting:

  • Training
  • The flight
  • On-site accommodation

Blue Origin hasn't yet disclosed commercial seat prices for flights on New Shepard.

Before stepping aboard, passengers must show they can deal with heights, walk on uneven surfaces, and support up to three times their weight, Insider previously reported.

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"There are a couple days of training in advance of the flight," a Blue Origin spokesperson told Insider in June. "Some of the training includes learning procedures for getting into and out of the capsule, a mission simulation, and learning techniques for how to move around in zero-g."

Virgin Galactic

What will space tourists get when they fly with SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic? Spacesuits, sleeping bags ... and Jeff Bezos
Virgin Galactic co-founder Sir Richard Branson, CEO George Whitesides, and Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya pose together outside of the New York Stock Exchange ahead of Virgin Galactic trading on October 28, 2019. Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Around 600 customers across 58 countries have already forked out up to $250,000 for a seat on Virgin Galactic's Unity spacecraft, which will take them to the edge of space.

A spokesperson from Virgin Galactic told Insider that the ticket includes:

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  • The flight
  • Training
  • A spacesuit

Unlike Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket, Unity won't pass the Kármán line, an imaginary boundary between the atmosphere and space. When Virgin Galactic's Unity reaches this height, passengers will experience several minutes of weightlessness before the spacecraft returns to Earth.

Branson, 70, has gone through months of training in preparation for his flight, which is scheduled for July 11.

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