Presentation on theme: "Space Tourism: A fantasy or a coming reality? “Already, private interests are working on initial space trip vehicle designs, and travel and tourism business."— Presentation transcript:
Space Tourism: A fantasy or a coming reality? “Already, private interests are working on initial space trip vehicle designs, and travel and tourism business interests are offering initial space trip services that could begin in the next few years. The future is almost upon us -- carpe diem.” –National Aeronautics and Space Administration Marshall Space Flight Center Mercer School of Engineering Professional Practice, Dr Davis P. Adams
Is the Technology here? The foundation necessary to develop private spacecraft already exists. After decades of government work as well as revolutionary advances in composite materials and computers all that is necessary is to convince investors and venture capitalists to step forward. The private industry is already developing satellite launch systems, and a few corporations are developing orbital and suborbital manned launch vehicles for commercial use.
Is space tourism economical? The Demand is here. Every year millions of Americans visit space-themed tourist destinations such as museums, space camps, and launch sites. Orbital tourism may be limited, but it is already a $1+ Billion industry on earth. This demand extends to space too: a family focus survey in the late 90’s indicated that 1 in 3 Americans would like to travel to space, with 7.5% of those willing to pay over $100,000. Surveys of Europe and Japan show that millions would travel to space if the cost could drop to $10,000 or so. In 20 years the commercial space industry could easily be worth 1/2 billion annually.
What currently exists? At the moment only four groups have achieved manned space flight. The US, Russia, China, and a private company called Virgin Galactic. Private citizens interested in going into space as paying tourists are limited to only Russia and Virgin Galactic. In recent years the Russians have been subsidizing their space industry with corporate advertising and orbital rides. For approximately $20 million a rich tourists can ride with cosmonauts to the International Space Station. Virgin Galactic won a $10 million X-Prize a few years back for sending a private manned craft into space. They have expanded their program and will be taking tourists on sub- orbital flights in 2009 or 2010 for $200,000 a seat. Hundreds have already paid in full. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipOne and the White Knight Carrior
What Could Be Coming? In addition to the handful of private firms attempting to start a space tourist industry along side Virgin Galactic, New Mexico is in the process of constructing a $225 million spaceport. Scheduled for completion in 2010, Space Port America will be the worlds first spaceport built for specifically for commercial use. Studies suggest that it could generate 3,000 jobs and $300,000 million revenue within the first 5 years of operation. For the future the sky is the limit. The next step would be for orbital travelers, and suggestions have been made by both the private sector and government studies that the ISS be used in part or whole as a orbital hotel and destination for high paying tourists.
A Final Word… “ Space tourism may suggest that 20th century dreams of a 21st century technological nirvana are on the horizon - but the technical reality is that the future will draw heavily on the past.” -Rob Choppinger The dream of travel and the possibilities of space all but guarantee that orbital tourism will grow. Our country has invested heavily in space, giving us the position to to continue as a global leader in this area. The dream from the days of the Apollo program are awakening again. As with the early days of aviation, thousands are willing to risk their lives to open a new frontier to commercial use.
References Conway, C. (2006, Nov 26). Russia, outer space and the profit motive. New York Times (Late Edition (East Cost)), p. 4.2 Coppinger, R. (2008, January 29). Virgin goes back to future. Flight International. 173(5123), 8 Countdown to space tourism speeds up (2007, Apr 17) Flight International 171(5083), 73 Gibson, D. C. (Spring 2006). Outer space tourism public relations purposes, practices and problems. Public Relations Quarterly, 51(1), 29-35. National Aeronautics and Space Adminstration, Marshall Space Flight Center (1998-1999) General Public Space Travel and Tourism. Space tourism regulations are proposed by the FAA. (2006, Jan 3). The Wall Street Journal (Eastern edition), p. D.7 Stover, D. Hotel Alpha grand views 250 miles up, room rate: $2 million. Popular Science 264(5), United States Congress House Committee on Science. Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics (2003, July 24) Commercial human space flight: joint hearing before the subcommittee on space and aeronautics, committee on science, House of Representatives and the subcommittee on science, technology, and space, committee on commerce, science, and transportation, U.S.Senate, one hundred eighth congress, first session. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. All photographs and concept drawings have embedded links pointing to the source.