It would seem that the world is just not big enough for PayPal as they aim towards handling financial transactions for astronauts, space travellers and tourists.

Commercial space travel is getting closer to becoming an everyday reality and PayPal want to prove that they are ready for such progress. On Thursday they announced the launch of PayPal Galactic, which is  designed to address the upcoming need for universal payments from space.

space travel

Along with experts from the scientific community, including SETI Institute and Space Tourism Society, PayPal worked on the new initiative that will be able to handle financial transactions for those travelling in space.

Buzz Aldrin, an astronaut and author who took part in the announcement said “Trips to Mars, the moon, even orbit will require we provide astronauts and astro-tourists with as many comforts from home as possible, including how to pay each other. Whether it’s paying a bill, even helping a family member on Earth, we’ll need access to money.”

“I think humans will reach Mars, and I would like to see it happen in my lifetime,” Aldrin added. “When that happens, I won’t be surprised if people use PayPal Galactic for the little things and the big ones.”

Although a brilliant and forward-thinking plan, there are some things to consider about the PayPal Galactic initiative. For example, how will our current banking system have to adapt? Risk and fraud management is an on-going discussion on earth, so how will it fare in space?

Of course space travel is still a way off, so there is still time to address any issues and develop protocols for the necessary currency and transactions.

Good Timing

The first commercial trip to space is set to take tourists in December and according to PayPal president David Marcus, there are plans for constructing a space hotel in three years. So they obviously feel getting ahead of the game will be worthwhile.

However Jeff Foust a senior analyst at Futron commented by saying “It’s at least a little bit ahead of its time, and maybe a lot ahead of its time. At some point down the road, and maybe in terms of decades, we have to start thinking about payment and currency infrastructure.”

“If you’re going to be on a suborbital flight, you’re only going to be in flight for a few minutes,” Foust said. “You’re not going to buy something on eBay. At some point far down the road, we need to take action on these things.”

Still with private projects planned to take volunteers into space, many of them will no doubt be in need of PayPal Galactic and PayPal will be glad they were ahead of time.

[Image via corvallisadvocate]