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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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Post Re: Willingness to Pay   Posted on: Tue Jul 20, 2004 7:35 pm
I think that we have to think of sub-orbital tourism as just a first step. Once we have sub-orbital flights to no where, then the next step is to have sub-orbital flights to somewhere in craft big enough to make it economically viable. At the same time, sub-orbital becomes orbital for longer get aways.

Also, if (as suggested) you are piggybacking all these flights with other purposes (launching satellites, running low-gravity/zero-gravity manufacturing) then you can share the cost of single flights / infrastructure for mulitple purposes.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 22, 2004 7:13 am
From my point of few suborbital tourism isn't the flight only as well as Mallorca tourism isn't to be on that mediterranian island only.

If the XPRIZE CUP will be successful the altitude of suborbital flights will increase and the flights wil begin to last longer. It will become possible to show the people things otherwise not to be seen like this - comparable to guided sightseeing in cities. And really that may be done for people looking for businees-oriented technical advantages of space too.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 22, 2004 9:09 am
I've thought of a good use. Astronaut training. How much is spent to fly a bunch of newbies in the vomit comet doing four or five weightless sessions per flight? :?

Later: I just thought. Better to be in a plane for some of that training, because if the candidate flips out and loses it, a quick nod to the pilot and normal flight can resume. Mmmm! Okay, perhaps some training, but not for newbies.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 22, 2004 9:54 am
Yes, that may be a good use.

But who else than NASA, ESA and the russian space agency may have interest? These all are government and not business. China is interetsd to be autonomous. And tehre not many astronauts to train.

So I was thinking about people from industrial enterprises looking for technical advantages to make a suborbital flight for some inspections of the situation in space: suborbital business tourism.

What about looking at the distances and movements of satellites for example? Or short inspections of satellites directly by eye? May encounters possible sufficiently safe and close to have a look on them? Perhaps by small telescopes? Or taking videos and photographs? May there be a business field?



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Post    Posted on: Fri Jul 23, 2004 12:21 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Yes, that may be a good use.

But who else than NASA, ESA and the russian space agency may have interest? These all are government and not business. China is interetsd to be autonomous. And tehre not many astronauts to train.

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As a Political Economist, you must admit that with privatization of these government space agencies, if a company could provide low cost training for even the entry level training of astronauts, they would jump at the chance.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jul 23, 2004 8:01 am
If NASA, ESA etc. were privatized - yes, you are right. In my post I considers them still to be government.

The Aldridge report having in mind not NASA will be privatized but many of its activities will be going private and taken over by large space-oriented industry firms.

So the Aldridge report may increase the number of astronauts to be trained perhaps by suborbital spacecrafts. But there may be additional chances of increases for suborbital tourism in businesses other than space-oriented industry.

The more single business fields we detect and list here the better the chance for suborbital tourism to grow.

What do you think?



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Post Market   Posted on: Fri Oct 01, 2004 12:41 am
I think we'll see a gradual ramping up of barnstomer-like space adventure travel, perhaps 5 people going up in 2005, 10 or so in 2006, an so on for a period of a few decades. By 2021, we could see around 15,000 passengers generating about $900 million in ticket revenues (very small compared to the revenue generated by orbital launches, but the profit margin will probably be much, much better). Also, it will keep the FAA very busy, so the licensing division will see a marked increase in work, and more licensed commercial spaceports can be expected. I see no market beyond space adventure travel for suborbital RLVs, though an outfit or two might field an X-15-like vehicle for hardware and software development in microgravity and high-speed environments. In other words, the space adventure travel demand is largely finite in terms of economics, but will be spread out across several decades. Space passenger and cargo to LEO and beyond will generate more revenue, but that scenario is far off.

Meanwhile, we'll probably see about 1 or 2 paying passengers on Soyuz each year beginning in 2006. This activity will not generate a dedicated Soyuz launch, since two $20 million tickets barely covers the cost of a Soyuz launch (estimated between $35 and $40 million if carrying a satellite, $65 million if carrying a crewed Soyuz capsule). The CEV will probably be launched by the Delta 4, replacing STS after ISS complete around 2011. Atlas and Proton will continue to be used for commercial satellite launches, and ILS, who markets them, will likely not tap the CEV (or passenger travel) thing in the interest of making a profit. I'm not sure if seats on CEV will be sold to private citizens, but my guess is that will, indeed, take place. ISS, meanwhile, will probably be turned over to a pseudo-commercial or entriely private entity around 2015. I'm not sure about Sea Launch, though I expect during the near term it will launch about 3-4 times per year.

I say that the barnstormer suborbital RLV phase will last a few decades because the intent is to use the period to begin tapping orbital markets and markets beyond, which is where the real money will be made. The more SRLV flights, the more investors and venture capitalists become impressed. Indeed, Branson (with Scaled), and XCOR have plans to deliver an orbital craft. The space barnstormer era will gradually regress into a quite level activity more akin to the kind of things we see at airshows (astrobatics, I guess).

Around 2030 or so, we can expect the introduction of a true aerospacecraft. But it will be critical to have a destination in LEO to go to, since I don't think it will be profitable to use an aerospacecraft to link major cities around the world (NY to Tokyo in 2 hours, for example), at least initially.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 01, 2004 6:21 pm
I think that sub-orbital tourism will be Short lived. I think that Orbital tourism will offer a lot more for paying tourists. i Expect to see it affordable around 2015-2020. Affordable meaning 5000-10.000 pound.

Technology is going to change quite a bit from now to 2015-2020.... it will become a lot cheaper, Especially with the use of nanotechnology, which will have matured a lot more than current methods of creating nanotubes n stuff


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 02, 2004 8:47 am
How long the lifetime of suborbital space tourism will be depends on the amount the prices can be reduced by.

The lifetime depends too on the least price level to be achieved for orbital flights.

A third factor is the income of the people.

AsAss as there are no private orbital tourism flights all people wanting a space adventure will buy suborbital tickets. From the articles reporting the Branson-deal to conclude this will be the richest first. They will contribute to amortizations and economies of scale and scope. This will reduce the prices and this will increase the number of potential suborbital tourists.

This may go on until really all people who can make vacations at Mallorca can buy a suborbital flight.

But nobody knows at what level of suborbital ticket prices private the production of orbital spaccrafts can be financed - there are already firms working on them. Nobody can estimate whether the rich will change to orbital tickets then ot wether they will not. And third noone knows wether this will increase the velocity by which suborbital prices will be reduced and wether they can reach levels less than without orbital tickets.

Given a sufficient gap between orbital prices and suborbital prices orbital flights can cause a prelongation of the lifetime of suborbital flights because the geral people for a long time only can pay suborbital prices perhaps but not orbital prices.

To answer the "question" is like playing in a casino - so everyone should try to take the chances in the market for suborbital flights he sees.




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