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Sub-orbital tourism II - Branson's bet.

Posted by: Dr_Keith_H - Tue Sep 28, 2004 10:11 am
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Sub-orbital tourism II - Branson's bet. 

At US$180,000 a seat Virgin Galactic's ticket price is ...
ridiculously expensive. 30%  30%  [ 6 ]
unsupportably cheap. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
right on the money. 70%  70%  [ 14 ]
Total votes : 20

Sub-orbital tourism II - Branson's bet. 
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Space Station Commander
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Post Sub-orbital tourism II - Branson's bet.   Posted on: Tue Sep 28, 2004 10:11 am
In a previous poll I asked if people thought sub-orbital tourism will be a reality and I said that it would not ... looks like Branson's out to serve me some crow. I wish him luck, but the brit with the best teeth in the business is banking on making hard cash with what could be a very slim profit margin ... but hey that's just a wild stab in the dark on my part ... what do YOU think?

Branson's current best guess for ticket prices is 100,000 british pounds per customer, somewhere in the vicinity of 180,000 US bucks. What sort of overhead is that? Enough to run a semi-regular rocket run? I dunno, but you might.

DKH

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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 28, 2004 10:24 am
Consider this ...

For six days on orbit (not counting ascent/descent times) Dennis Tito paid a cool $20 million ... that's a shade more than $2,300 per minute ... (I think)

Now, let's say you get 5 minutes of weightlessness in Branson's ship (ya I know, Rutan built it, but Branson's buying it) ... Branson's asking for ... um ... $36,000 per minute. Yikes.

DKH

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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 28, 2004 11:01 am
Quote:
with what could be a very slim profit margin


He doesn't need a wide profit margin. He seems well aware that space tourism is going to be a marginal business over the next 5 years. However, it should be enough to subsidize research and development costs to the point where it can become a far more mainstream venture.

Brason can afford to run this business on a shoestring as an acceptable sacrifice to get to that next stage of orbital, which is technically far better value for money. Even assuming orbital costs at 30x those of suborbital, that still only gives us a cost of $600 per minute for six days in orbit.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 28, 2004 1:27 pm
I wouldn't underestimate some big spenders like him investing in those kind of things (like space tourism) just for the kick. I wouldn't be suprised if in the first 5 years Branson doesn't make any profit on this and still keeps on running just because it's a dream come true for him. I hope there are more big spenders showing up in the next x months/year ...


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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 28, 2004 9:29 pm
Branson set's the bar now. Everyone else that follows has to decide where they want to go in relation to it. The joys of being "First". Supply and demand will decide if that price is tenable. If it is, and it's a seller's market, I suppose we won't see much change in the price of access to space. It's been open to milllionaires for a few years now.

I have a feeling that the SSO doesn't have a turnaround quite as good as they'd hoped, but its just speculation. So far they've been pretty slow on their tests, but that doesn't really mean anything.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 28, 2004 10:50 pm
You guy forgot one other thing,
What an advertising bonus this will give him for the rest of his business.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 28, 2004 10:52 pm
Read my post at: http://www.xprize.org/messageboard/view ... =7503#7503

Branson: "We will re-invest the funds raised over the first few years of flight back into the business, striving constantly to lower prices. "

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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 28, 2004 10:55 pm
You link dumps out to the main forum.

Never mind it's fix


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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 28, 2004 10:56 pm
DJBREIT wrote:
You link dumps out to the main forum.

sorry for the problem, it's fixed now.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 29, 2004 9:11 am
This is just following the standard market shape. Anyone who buys a ticket right now is in the innovators and maybe the early adopters phases. These are people with tonnes of cash, who just want the kudos of having been to space. It's the same attitude as those people who will be buying a $10000 50" plasma screen, or those who decided to rent an ADSL broadband line years back when it was just becoming available.

Eventually the market for space flight will start maturing, as more money comes in from these people willing to pay more, and from other investors seeing that there's lots of people willing to buy tickets, and the price will come down. And that's when it starts being available to the likes of you and I - at a decent price.

I'm sure that there are people willing to go into space, and pay a lot more money than the majority of us so that they can. The question of all this is "how soon will the costs come down to an acceptable level for the majority"

~Dan


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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 29, 2004 9:32 am
DJBREIT wrote:
You guy forgot one other thing,
What an advertising bonus this will give him for the rest of his business.

Not me, I didn't forget this aspect for a second. Branson's a bright lad, keeping his profile above the horizon (waaaay above) is good for business (i.e. his other businesses).

He isn't locked in anyway, anyone else here remember the relationship that he (almost) had with Rotary Rocket?

Hey guys, c'mon, look at that model Branson waves around while mugging for the cameras ... it's SS1. Which is a vehicle designed specifically to win the X-prize ... where's the model of the next generation tourist vehicle ... surely they must have a model by this stage. Is Branson buying smoke and mirrors ... or is he selling it to us? His timing is awesome, just a few days before the X-prize launch ... gets him maximum publicity and virtually no risk ... the public has an intensely short memory ... if anything goes wrong for SS1 (ye gods I hope not), Virgin Atlantic (and it's subsidiaries) will have already sold the tickets they wanted to anyway. This is Richard Branson guys, all he did (subject to all necessary government approvals) was sign an agreement to licence the intellectual property.

The bit in bold and italics is the key, it's the chicken gate, it's his way out and it's cost him nothing so far. In the meantime he can make all the promises he wants.

DKH (lining myself up to be royally toasted this time).

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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 29, 2004 3:27 pm
Branson may well want to have more then publicity. There is money to be made in transporting humans into space. But he won't be able to do it at that price for very long. SpaceAdventures already has a list of people who've paid a deposit for flights on the Xerus (which has a launch liscence), and the C-21, and IIRC they are going to charge much less.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Dec 17, 2004 10:05 am
The article "One small step for space tourism Dec 16th 2004, The Economist print edition
If plans for a new range of suborbital vehicles get off the drawing board, then holidays in space could get off the ground" ( http://www.economist.com/science/displa ... id=3500237 ) is giving an interesting information about the structure of Virgin Galactic's ticket prize: "... For close to $200,000, customers will get a three-day experience that will include a lot of medical checks. During this time there will also be some “dietary work”, as Mr Whitehorn coyly describes it. This would ensure that people could get into space without embarrassing themselves by throwing up because their stomachs were too full. ..."

So the 200,000$ do include much more than the flight only.

It would be interesting what percentage of the price the checks and the dietary work have. Dr_Keith_H, can you estimate it rawly as you are close to that topic then I?



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


Last edited by Ekkehard Augustin on Fri Dec 17, 2004 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Dec 17, 2004 12:48 pm
Ekke, I have no idea. I might as well say a random series of words for all the certainty a guess on my part would bring.

Medical checks? Psych examinations would be more appropriate.

DKH

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Post    Posted on: Sun Dec 19, 2004 7:06 pm
I read recently about the Boieng 314 during the 1930ies, a one-way trip San Francisco-Hong Kong costed 750US$ which was the same price for a new Ford V8 back then.
Flying from Eastern US to Europe costed 375US$ one way, estimated double price of
the Concorde non-discounted ticket for the same distance if translated to todays value.
Compare it with today, this was only 60-70 years ago and space age is only about 40 years old.

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