Talking space tourism with someone who's been there

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Want to be a space tourist? There are big developments in that business, including companies that can help you book a ticket and train your body, so you can see the world.

You’ll need $52 million for the ride.   Then an additional $35,000 a night to stay at the International Space Station.

“And finding the right time is actually a lot harder than finding people who want to go,” said Richard Garriott, a video game developer and businessman who went to space as a tourist in 2008.

Garriott spoke to us about space tourism.  He devoted eight months to the necessary training, then went to the ISS on a Russian spacecraft. He is now head of a company named Space Adventures.

“The good news is that with the vehicles being built by SpaceX and Boeing, the opportunities are going to be happening at a lot more frequent cadence,” Garriott said.

Right now, excitement about space tourism is at a fever pitch. A company called Bigelow Space Operations has just announced a collaboration with SpaceX. Bigelow is reserving four launches -- each launch can take four people. This deal means space tourists will ride in a SpaceX Dragon Crew Capsule to the ISS, but they will have to stay there for at least a month.

“Floating in microgravity is a giddy experience. The whole time, it’s like going over the top of a roller coaster, and it tickles you, and you almost feel like laughing, and it just stays that way the whole time" Garriott said. "And the view out your window is spectacular! Looking out the window feels like a firehose of information about the earth just pouring into your mind.”

Garriott said there are already lists of people who want to be space tourists, but the names are confidential.  Some are household names, giants of industry, worried that an announcement about their “travel plans” would affect company stocks.

So when does this start? Perhaps as early as next year. NASA first has to certify the SpaceX capsule as safe for human flight.