Chinese state-backed company to launch space tourism flights by 2028

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese commercial space company CAS Space announced its “space tourism vehicle” will first fly in 2027 and travel to the edge of space in 2028, state media reported on Friday.

The announcement comes just days after Jeff Bezos-backed Blue Origin announced that its New Shepard Rocket, which flies cargo and humans on short trips to the edge of space, would resume flights on Sunday, ending a near two-year pause of crewed operations.

CAS Space said that its vehicle will include a tourist cabin that has four panoramic windows and can carry seven passengers per flight. The company plans to arrange a launch every 100 hours from a newly-built aerospace theme park, with ten vehicles available to take tourists to the edge of space in shifts.

Tickets will cost 2 million to 3 million yuan ($415,127) per person per trip, state media said.

Guangzhou-based CAS Space was founded in 2018 and its second-largest shareholder is China’s biggest state research institute, the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

China’s space exploration program has recently narrowed the gap with the United States and could become the first country to return samples from the far side of the moon after it launched the Chang’e-6 mission earlier this month.

That launch attracted hordes of tourists to the launch site on China’s island province of Hainan. Before blast-off tens of thousands of people gathered in different viewing spots near the launch site, causing long traffic jams.

($1 = 7.2267 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Eduardo Baptista; Editing by Sonali Paul)

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