Space is like any other destination: you either pay to go there or you get paid to go there. You’re either a passenger or a pilot. But though it’s only 100km away, neither option is easy.

Being a passenger requires a lot of money. In June, Nasa announced it would allow “private astronaut missions” to the International Space Station (ISS), for which it will charge $35,000 a night; getting there, in a capsule operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, will cost about $52m. Even the briefer excursions offered by Virgin Galactic — six minutes of weightlessness more than 80km above the ground — will set you back about $250,000.

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now