“It will in a way be more of a labor manager than a cruise director,” said López-Alegría.

In an interview, Mr. Connor admitted that many people question the worth of rich people who pay millions to travel like this. “I understand people have questions,” he said. “People criticize, ‘Hey, with all the problems looming, why on earth are these people spending all this money going into space?'”

However, he responded that his company’s charity, Kids & Community Partners, plans to spend $ 400 million on programs to help children and fund medical research over the next 10 years. Overall, he said he would end up donating half of his net worth to charity. And around 30 percent of its assets flow into what the company describes as a “key partner”.

“Only 20 percent will stay in my family,” said Connor. “So I was just hoping that when people criticize or slander me for it, at least they have the context of what I believe in.”

Space Adventures announced last year that it had also reached an agreement with SpaceX to launch a Crew Dragon to take tourists on a trip into Earth orbit, but no details have been given as to when this mission might start. It has also resumed sales of tourist trips to the space station using Russian Soyuz rockets. Two customers are scheduled to take off a flight later this year.

Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese fashion entrepreneur, has also signed up for a SpaceX tourist trip, but that would be a trip around the moon in a few years with a giant rocket called Starship, which is still in development.

Those who cannot afford orbital travel will soon have cheaper options in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for short ascents and descents to the edge of space and back, where they can experience a few minutes of weightlessness.