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Sub-orbital tourism - here and now or distant prospect?

Posted by: Dr_Keith_H - Sun Jun 13, 2004 2:36 pm
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Sub-orbital tourism - here and now or distant prospect? 

Will there really ever be a sub-orbital tourist market?
No 13%  13%  [ 3 ]
Yes 88%  88%  [ 21 ]
Total votes : 24

Sub-orbital tourism - here and now or distant prospect? 
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Space Walker
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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 15, 2004 1:19 pm
British Airways made large profits operating Concorde. The initial public outlay in developing the aircraft were lost due to the oil crisis(!) and American jealousy in refusing to allow it to land on its principal route for so long. The Concorde provided a glamorous and prestigious form of TRANSPORT. It went from one place to another. How many more rich people would be willing to fly the most exciting ride in the world if they could justify it as a means to an end?

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 15, 2004 1:28 pm
Agreed, Luke... The Concorde was quite impressive; I once got to see one land. In fact, back in late 80s, they flew one in here to our mountain airport near Asheville. Biggest thing ever landed there. It got snowed in for several days :lol:

Never could afford to fly on it myself, but I personally know several reasonably ordinary people (albeit with a few bucks in their pocket) who DID fly on the Concorde. And I woulda if I could have afforded it.

So, extrapolating from your and my point, I would say space tourism, if it was somewhere close to the same price as a ticket on the Concorde (several thousand dollars, I believe) would attract many folk. Even me. :D

A minor transportation market but, as you said about the Concorde, potentially a nice profitable niche for the provider.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 15, 2004 1:46 pm
Thanks Author, you got my point exactly. I got a little over-excited before so please substitute "American" for "Balsa-wood Boeing" in my previous post! You might be interested to know that following the Paris crash, BA spent enormous sums of money upgrading the Concorde fleet with Kevlar fuel tank and wiring protection and new light-weight interiors. They wanted to keep flying them even if they had to operate at a loss because the prestige of simply operating Concorde brought increased trade to other business/1st class seats. Obviously September 11 put the last nail in the coffin and Airbus Industries withdrew parts supply when AirFrance bottled out. Surviving Concordes in the States are at the Seattle air museum and its American home base of JFK.
On the subject of the reflected glory an airline can pick up from a prestige service, SS1 class for Virgin Airlines anyone?

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 11:05 am
So, can someone answer this for me? How far can a sub-orbital hop take us? Are we talking London to New York? If so, there indeed is your market. Cos the flight times are going to be short aren't they? An enlarged X-Prize inspiration could be the next concord.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 1:53 pm
suborbital hops can theoretically go from NY to tokyo in 2-5 hours, depending on exactly how fast they are.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:21 pm
and how many gees you can get away with piling on paying customers. :lol:

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:55 pm
author wrote:
and how many gees you can get away with piling on paying customers. :lol:

Ralph! That's not a funny question. That's an excellent question! But what is the answer? It does pertain to the overall question too ... does anyone know what are considered safe limits for untrained passengers?

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:09 pm
How many G's are we talking here? Three, four? Burn time can be no more than, what? 2 minutes? Yep, we'er talking about fit people here aren't we? Or people who sign a disclaimer.

Hey, make the doors really narrow, any fatter than that, you're unhealthy and can't fit, so take a boat. Ha!
:lol:

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:12 pm
So Mike Melville experiences 5 gees (I think on descent) ... was that only momentary or sustained? Was that actually measured or was that a pilot estimate? How many billionaire tourists have we got that can put up with 5 gees? Quick, somebody shove Branson in a centrifuge right now!!

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:17 pm
Ten G's to make a Branson Pickle?

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Post    Posted on: Sat Jul 10, 2004 4:40 pm
How many G's?

Well? How many of you have gone on these monster roller-coasters
at "Six-Flags" amusement parks across America?
Some of those roller coasters will cause your body to pull 4-5 G's.


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Post Willingness to Pay   Posted on: Fri Jul 16, 2004 2:28 am
Seems like the question really comes down to market size, and no one knows for sure. I also saw that futron had conducted a market survey. It's available for sale for a few $k from their website. I am skeptical that it contains anything not already publically available.
I've seen several posts on this thread to the effect of "I wouldn't pay 100k for a suborbital flight". Fair enough; very few people would. But then again, how many people really need to have the means and desire to do so for this to be a profitable entreprise? Choose your estimates and run your numbers; if you could even sell 5000 tickets a year at that rate you'd be doing well for yourself. 100k is a lot of cash, but there are 6 billion people out there...you only need find a few thousand customers a year. Once you have them, you have access to enormous wealth and marketing power. Your customer acquisition costs would be enormous to get these folks though.
A few questions. Can't claim credit for this one, but what would you pay for a lottery ticket that gave you, say, a 1 in 1000 chance to go in space? Would you pay 100 bucks for that opportunity (assuming you trusted the company conducting the lottery of course)?
Finally, I agree that going from A to B makes the whole notion more appealing. Putting yourself in the enviable role of wealthy person for a moment, would you be more willing to pay if the experience was packaged into a week long astronaut experience? Training, cool people, cool equipment, luxury hotel, amazing location(certainly NOT the mojave!)

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jul 19, 2004 8:44 am
May be it's a funny question but - what should be called suborbital tourism?

Of course suborbital flights for pleasure, fun, satisfaction and adventure - Yes. But - really only these suborbital flights?

What about people taking videos during the flights showing the sun, the stars, the moon to be used in movies? As the altitude increases the chances to take good videos are increasing too.

What about people who want to test wether suborbital flights are fitter to special purposes than parabolic fligths by normal planes? This may cause increasing interest in private orbital flights too.

The chances for suborbital flights to be successfull are found by the question "What purposes can be reached by suborbital flights?" but not only in suborbital tourism.

What possibilities can be found to make suborbital flights to be more than suborbital flights? Is it possible to create different kinds of suborbital flights and then to differentiate prices based on this different kinds? This may increase the interest and it may allow much less prices for very simple normal suborbital flights financed by luxury or sophisticated suborbital flights.



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Post Re: Willingness to Pay   Posted on: Mon Jul 19, 2004 9:20 pm
jearner wrote:
A few questions. Can't claim credit for this one, but what would you pay for a lottery ticket that gave you, say, a 1 in 1000 chance to go in space? Would you pay 100 bucks for that opportunity (assuming you trusted the company conducting the lottery of course)?


http://www.espacelotto.com/

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Finally, I agree that going from A to B makes the whole notion more appealing. Putting yourself in the enviable role of wealthy person for a moment, would you be more willing to pay if the experience was packaged into a week long astronaut experience? Training, cool people, cool equipment, luxury hotel, amazing location(certainly NOT the mojave!)


hmph. Mojave has its charms

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jul 20, 2004 3:36 pm
Has anyone anyone approached any of the Lotto companies here in the US, MegaMillions, PowerBall, Texas Lotto, to add a space adventure component to one of their future drawings? Then you would tap into their market.

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