Startup to Send Tourists to Space

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. logistics / loʊˈdʒɪs tɪks / (n) – arrangements that must be done when organizing an event or program involving many people

    I will handle the event’s logistics such as venue and transportation.

  2. milestone / ˈmaɪlˌstoʊn / (n) – an important point or event in the progress or growth of something

    The launch of the new spacecraft is an important milestone in the space agency’s history.

  3. quest / kwɛst / (n) – a mission to achieve something

    I still won’t give up my quest to find my missing bracelet.

  4. compensation / kɒm pənˈseɪ ʃən / (n) – something given to someone in exchange for something else

    Jackie offered to buy me dinner as compensation for teaching her to play the piano.

  5. portion / ˈpɔr ʃən / (n) – a part of a whole

    A portion of the sales will be donated to charity.


Read the text below.

Axiom Space, a spaceflight service startup, will make it possible for tourists to travel to space.

The startup has partnered with rocket and spacecraft manufacturer SpaceX to send three tourists to the International Space Station (ISS) in the latter part of 2021. Axiom Space will handle the logistics of the mission, such as the training, planning, life and medical support, and certifications. On the other hand, SpaceX will provide the spacecraft.

The three tourists will spend a total of 10 days in space. They will spend two days traveling to and from the ISS and eight days aboard it. An Axiom Space-trained astronaut will join the tourists and serve as the spacecraft’s flight commander. Tickets for the space mission reportedly cost around $55 million each, and one ticket has already been sold.

Axiom Space said that it wants to offer two flights a year to tourists. To achieve this goal, the company has been tapping investors and already raised around $16 million.

The Axiom spaceflight marks an important milestone in the quest to provide regular and easy access to space for everyone. Last year, NASA announced its plans to open the ISS to more space tourism missions. According to the space agency, it will charge companies $35,000 a night for each tourist staying at the ISS as compensation for providing air, water, and internet.  Axiom Space plans to contribute a portion of its space tourism ticket sales to NASA’s future space missions.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• If you had the opportunity, would you take part in Axiom Space’s mission? Why or why not?
• Do you think offering private space flights is the best way to fund NASA’s future space missions? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Why do you think some people want to travel to space? Explain.
• In your opinion, how common will space travel be in the future (e.g. as common as people flying from Asia to the United States)? Discuss.