Space Tourism in the Context of a Diverse Market

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M. Hempsell (2006), JBIS, 59, 411-416

Refcode: 2006.59.411
Keywords: Space tourism, reusable launch systems, launch economics, Skylon

Most discussion of the potential space tourism business considers it as an isolated activity. In the case of sub-orbital tourism this is probably the case and this means any business has to pay to develop its infrastructure before it can start any revenue earning. This can lead to an investment trap were the upfront investment costs can never be recovered if commercially attractive rates of return are assumed. By contrast orbital tourism would be undertaken in the context of other space activity and these can have a significant impact on its commercial viability, particularly as a means to overcome the investment trap. A strategy is outlined showing that a mixed market approach to passenger transport to orbit can both provide savings for government activity and tourist costs around half a million dollars per person. However to take advantage of this market synergy the orbital personnel transport system must have the requirements of space tourism operations incorporated into the system during its initial development.

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