Seen above is an illustration of Boeing's proposed Crew Space Transportation-100 (CST-100) capsule docking with the International Space Station. Boeing intends to use the capsule to shuttle NASA astronauts and space tourists to low Earth orbit destinations including the ISS and perhaps a commercial space lab planned by Bigelow Aerospace. For the space tourism side, Boeing has partnered with Space Adventures, the organization that already books civilian trips to the ISS on Soyuz rockets at $40 million/ticket. (In 2007, I interviewed Charles Simonyi who had such a great time up there that he went twice.) From Smithsonian Air & Space:
“The price should be less emphasized than safety and reliability,” said Eric Anderson, co-founder and chairman of Space Adventures of Vienna, Virginia, which has so far sent seven people to the ISS on eight Soyuz flights (one person, Charles Simonyi, flew twice). “We’re still talking tens of millions of dollars. People ask me, when is it going to get cheaper, like $40,000? I always say it’ll never be $40,000 if it doesn’t start at $40 million. We’ll get there. The problem is, there’s not enough access to space.”
The training to fly on the new Boeing capsule will be “much less arduous,” Anderson said, than what is now required to ride on a Soyuz. For one thing, there won’t be a need for Russian language training, which takes several months in Russia. And the CST-100 will launch from Florida’s balmy Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas V, Delta IV, or SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, rather than from the barren steppes of the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.