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News > China

China and India to Develop Space Tourism

  • People watch the launch of a Chinese space rocket.

    People watch the launch of a Chinese space rocket. | Photo: X/ @CityLab

Published 2 October 2023

The Asian country is on track to offer paid space travel starting in 2025, led by the government-backed company CAS Space.

China and India have not only made significant strides in exploration, from Mars to the Moon, but are also investing in the development of space tourism through various projects.


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Last August, India made history by becoming the first country to successfully land on the lunar South Pole. China, on the other hand, has explored the Moon's far side, reached Mars with a rover, and established its own space station.

Moreover, China is on track to offer paid space travel starting in 2025, led by the government-backed company CAS Space.

According to CAS Space founder Yang Yiqiang suborbital trips are expected to be available within three years, allowing passengers to experience weightlessness for 10 minutes at an altitude of over 100 kilometers. 

Prices could range from US$285,000 to US$427,000, but CAS Space aims to make them accessible to the majority. The company, which separated from the China Academy of Sciences, has been compared to companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX, with its first test flight scheduled for 2023.

This effort aligns with China's ambition to become a leader in commercial space tourism by 2027, according to Yang. China has experienced rapid growth in the commercial space industry, with over 370 related companies registered as of last year.

Additionally, Hainan Island in southern China is promoting a different form of space tourism, this time from Earth, as part of its strategy to become the country's space capital. They aim to attract people who want to witness rocket launches and experience the thrill of space.

India's landing on the lunar South Pole with the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft, where the Russians had failed just a few days earlier, has further emphasized its space plans, which include a commitment to developing space tourism.

The country is participating in two pilot projects with the goal of offering commercial trips beyond Earth in the future.

India is providing facilities for balloon experiments to the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Hyderabad, as part of a project by the Spanish company Halo Space.

Halo is in the process of developing a project to offer commercial flights to the stratosphere starting in 2025. On December 7th, Halo conducted its first test flight, reaching an altitude of 37 kilometers using a stratospheric balloon carrying a full-scale prototype of an unmanned capsule.

Furthermore, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is designing an ambitious prototype to demonstrate the capability of manned spaceflight, scheduled for late next year.

The Gaganyaan project aims to launch a three-member crew into a 400-kilometer orbit "for a three-day mission and their safe return to Earth, landing in the waters of the Indian Ocean," as stated on ISRO's website.

The planned unmanned test missions include aerial drop tests, mission abort tests on the platform, and vehicle tests.

While this project does not yet include space tourism, ISRO hopes that the development of such missions will contribute significantly to future sustained manned spaceflight activities.


Yang Yiqiang
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