There are any number of digital travel portals that offer consumers some variation of a luxurious vacation. Hotel suites, yachts, private islands — if money is no object the sky is pretty much the limit in terms of what one can hope to reasonably purchase.
But what if one feels the sky itself is too unreasonable a limit? For the extraordinarily wealthy there is always the Bezos/Musk/Branson approach of building your own spaceship for fun and profit. But the DIY approach to space travel is time-consuming, expensive and laden with liability — not to mention it requires a pretty extreme level of wealth.
But as it turns out, if a 10-day trip to the International Space Station is really what someone wants to do with their summer vacation, there are easier ways to get there. In fact, with sufficient wealth and prestige, it is actually a simple as tapping an app.
The app is called Velocity Black, and its tagline is “live a limitless life” — with a rather heavy emphasis on the limitless part of that. If being shot into space isn’t quite one’s speed there are other rare opportunities up for grabs on the rarified travel site. Tracking snow leopards in the Himalayas with a BBC Planet Earth team is on the menu, as is training with ninjas in Japan, flying fighter jets or having a gourmet meal served up in a historical site like the pyramids.
To book those experiences, membership is required and membership is not inexpensive, though given the grandiosity of the trips themselves membership is less expensive than one might naturally expect. Membership costs $2,800 a year — and the ability to pay won’t alone gain a person access to the app. Members must be approved and invited.
The trips themselves be paid for out of pocket. Velocity Black can get you into space — but a trip into low earth orbit starts at $55 million. Taking that dream vacation to the ISS costs more — and requires a 15-week training program divided into weeklong sessions in the same facilities NASA astronauts train in.
What Velocity Black says it is truly specializes in is service — extremely fast service. It guarantees an initial response time of within one minute, 365 days a year, via the app, which is powered by both artificial intelligence (AI) and humans. And, a brief test of that run by PYMNTS indicates the service is not kidding — the response time was well under 30 seconds.
Which is why, notably, though mainly known for the travel experiences to which it connects rarified customers, Velocity Black is more broadly a concierge service that caters to a wider set of needs.
Which means if a customer wants to catch a ride to the space shuttle they can do that. If they want to wear a pair of limited-edition Air Jordans while they train for the mission, Velocity Black will also delivery those up. Need a reservation at solidly-booked Michelin-star restaurant to celebrate conquering the final frontier? Also not a problem. The service specializes in connecting its wealthy clients to what they want, where they want it — whether that is travel, consumer goods, concert tickets or dining reservations.
The app also effectively leverages the power of celebrity and exclusivity. The particularly rich, famous and influential on social media have historically had their membership fees waived, as their tendency to attract people to the platform is more valuable than their money. And by making the app invite only, it has managed to create a fair amount of buzzy interest. There is currently a waiting list to join Velocity Black, though the company would no disclose how long the list is, or how long it typically takes to join the service from the waiting list.