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Soft ball question here:

Does anyone know if SpaceX will be open to taking non-space agency/military personnel into space? And if so, in what capacity will they allow? And any estimates on the price?

I know the Russians offer a space flight service including a stay on the ISS for somewhere in the neighborhood of $45-50 million which includes a 2 week stay in the ISS. I was just wondering if SpaceX has anything like that planned or at least has shown interest in unlocking space for the general public.

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Bigelow Aerospace has been talking with anyone close to being able to launch people, about using their services for manned launch. Bigelow plans on launching inflatable habitats for rent to national governments who want a cheap space program. (South Korea is often touted as a customer). Bigelow at one point offered prices for crew launched by Dragon and for crew launched by CST-100 (Boeing).

Thus Bigelow is looking for anyone who can launch manned. They have held off launching their BA-330 module, since with Genesis 1 and 2 having proven most of their needs, but no way to get there, no point in launching the habitat for people, with no people.

NASA does not 'own' Dragon after cargo deliveries, nor will it 'own' the Dragon V2 (DragonRider?) capsule on missions. Rather they purchase a service, and SpaceX provides it. Thus SpaceX can sell launches and manned flights to whomever is willing to pay. You can bet they will sell launches that people want to buy.

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The question is, how do you define "public"?

Passenger-safe rockets are expensive things to build and operate. That seems unlikely to change any time soon, even as commercial space flight becomes better established. Given current technology, I expect that, at best, we might see a 10-minutes-in-space suborbital flight reach the point where it's as affordable as a high-end cruise or safari or the like, meaning that many folks could afford it as a once-in-a-lifetime event if it's really that high on their personal priorities. In other words, I expect that SpaceX "tourist" tickets will probably always be closer to the price of a house than to the price of a car.

I'll be delighted if someone proves me wrong.

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    $\begingroup$ At this point, it seems like only time will tell. If what SpaceX wants to do works (get cost down to Propellant + amortized cost of reusable booster) it could get lower. Unlikely down to cost of a car though. $\endgroup$ – geoffc Jun 3 '14 at 12:54
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    $\begingroup$ Given that a Dragon capsule to the ISS costs around $133 million, and I expect a man rated version to be more expensive, I'd say it's more than the cost of a house... Even the optimistic SpaceX reuseability costs only reduce that by two thirds, at least as of now... $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Jun 3 '14 at 13:12

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