In 2024, several space tourism options will be available for adventurous travelers. However, it is important to note that this list does not include suborbital flights with Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, and stratospheric balloon projects. The focus is on space tourism programs that offer stays aboard the International Space Station (ISS), such as Axiom Space, and SpaceX, which is preparing for a crewed mission to the Moon through their program, Polaris. This distinction is made to provide clarity and highlight the unique offerings of each space tourism program.
Three Tourist Missions Launched by SpaceX
Unsurprisingly, SpaceX will be at the forefront of these tourist missions Orbitals in 2024 with three flights planned. The first, Axiom-3 (Ax-3), led by the former astronaut NASA's Michael López-Alegría, will begin in January with four crew staying several days on the ISS. They will conduct more than 30 different experiments during their mission.
The crew will include Swede Marcus Wandt, an ESA project astronaut. As a reminder, Marcus Wandt was selected in 2022 for ESA's Reserve Astronaut Corps.
Fourth Crewed Mission for Axiom Space
Axiom Space has announced that they plan to launch the AX-3 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2022. Former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría will lead this space tourism mission, which includes three private astronauts. Additionally, Axiom Space is also planning the AX-4 mission later this year, which is expected to be led by former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who spent the most time in space by any female astronaut.
First Spacewalk for Two Space Tourists
In April, SpaceX plans to launch Polaris Dawn, the first of three crewed missions in the Polaris program. SpaceX and Jared Isaacman initiated this program, and it will be the second space flight after the Inspiration4 mission it funded. The Polaris Dawn mission is highly anticipated and will feature the first private spacewalk (EVA) by two space tourists, including Jared Isaacman.
Initially, the mission was set to launch at the end of 2022 but was postponed due to adaptations and adjustments necessary to ensure a safe spacewalk from Crew Dragon, which does not have an exit airlock. During this unprecedented outing, the vehicle will be completely depressurized because of the absence of an airlock. Meanwhile, the other two crew members will not go into space and will be strapped in. However, they may stick their heads out of the vehicle!