Innovation

A SpaceX-linked firm wants to send a reality TV contestant to the ISS

A new television series is set to boldly go where no reality show has gone before.

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A reality television contestant is set to launch into space and visit the International Space Station.

A Thursday report from Deadline claimed production company Space Hero is working on a television series under the same name, with its sights on a mission to the ISS in 2023. The show's contestants will be civilians with a passion for space, and they'll be undertaking a series of challenges to see who will win the contest and blast off on a rocket.

A subsequent press release from the company confirmed plans for the show:

"Produced by Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens’ Propagate, the series will search the entire globe for an everyday citizen with a deep love for space exploration. Space Hero will provide an opportunity for anyone from any background to become the first globally-elected space explorer to take part in a mission to the International Space Station."

Space Hero is working with Houston-based Axiom Space, a company that has the ultimate end goal of building the world's first commercial space station. In March 2020 Axiom Space announced plans to send three space tourists to the space station in the second half of 2021 using SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule.

For this new project, Axiom Space will handle the details of the space mission itself, including securing the seat, providing insurance for the astronauts, and training them up ready for the big event.

Deadline reported that the winner will be sent to the station on a "SpaceX Dragon rocket." SpaceX first launched humans into space in May 2020, when it sent up NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley in a Crew Dragon capsule to the ISS powered by a Falcon 9 rocket.

However, Space Hero confirmed to Inverse that the launch vehicle for the mission has yet to be determined.

SpaceX Crew Dragon.SpaceX

The show is set to see the contestants take on a series of tough challenges that test their mental, physical, and emotional strength. Deadline claims the current plan is to host a live broadcasted final episode, where an international vote determines who will make the trip into space. The winner is expected to spend 10 days at the station, and Space Hero is in discussions with NASA about partnering on possible science, technology, and medicine initiatives during the stay.

The cost of the mission is unclear. The company's LinkedIn page has an interview with co-founder Deborah Sass that took place at The Montgomery Summit in March 2019. During the video, Sass claims the mission would cost $65 million.

This cost fits with a CNBC analysis, which explains that NASA is expected to pay SpaceX $55 million per astronaut to fly to the International Space Station. A stay at the station, according to NASA-released figured, would cost $35,000 per person per night on top of that.

In last year's video, Sass described the prize as "the biggest prize ever given out on Earth...we have basically spent two years going around the world, talking to all the space agencies, NASA, SpaceX, Boeing, to get everything in line to be able to launch this."

SpaceX has big plans for launching more people into space. "Crew-1," the first non-test crewed Crew Dragon mission, is set to send up four astronauts no earlier than October. Space Adventures announced plans in February 2020 to use the SpaceX capsule for a 2021 mission, sending up four private citizens to space.

The Inverse analysis – SpaceX would be a logical choice for the project, even if it's not confirmed. The company is already working with project partner Axiom Space on another mission. Space Hero is clearly a fan of SpaceX's work, as evidenced by a LinkedIn video of the team settling in for the Behnken and Hurley launch.

SpaceX is also reportedly working on a feature-length movie in space already, a Tom Cruise action thriller that's in the early stages. With all these collaborations with filmmakers and tourist companies, SpaceX could move from simply launching satellites to sending Hollywood up to new heights.

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