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Let's get real about "Space Tourism"!

Posted by: virgair - Mon Oct 04, 2004 4:21 pm
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Let's get real about "Space Tourism"! 
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Post Let's get real about "Space Tourism"!   Posted on: Mon Oct 04, 2004 4:21 pm
OK! Scaled Composites has done it!~
The X-Prize is won.
"Space tourism" is doable, as far as engineering goes.
I repeat! [You reading this, Bad_Astra?] space tourism
is "technologically" DOABLE. :)

BUT!!! :( :( So were COMMERCIAL supersonic flights [remember
the Concorde, Bad_Astra?]

What can kill the space tourism business?
A lot! :x

(1) Lawsuits.

(2) Media hysteria, if a "space tourist" dies.

(3) Lawyers.

(4) Government restrictions, if a "space tourist dies", or someone on the
ground gets killed by falling debris.

(5) The Treehuggers.

(6) More government restrictions onn a global scale [United Nations meddling]

(7) Investors who suddenly get cold feet.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 04, 2004 4:35 pm
You're mostly right. So what do we do? We either get depressed, or tackle each barrier as they come.

And besides, I think that this has captured peoples' imaginations, and there are quite a few companies working on space travel now. The more companies, the more money invested, and the more reason to overcome any of those issues listed.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 04, 2004 4:38 pm
Points 1, 2 and 3 can easily be solved is tourists sign a waiver.

Most people would accept the risk of death - or any other mishap - is probably much greater than say, flying concorde.

For me, the pioneering act of travelling so far, so fast and so high far outweighs the potential risks.

My own personal feeling is enviromentalists (aka treehuggers) would slow the momentum of this thing taking off - until a more earth friendly fuel is used :roll:


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Post Simple solution   Posted on: Mon Oct 04, 2004 4:42 pm
Uh oh. You're right. So now we have modify our orignal plan:

1. Make space travel affordable.

into something like this:

1. Shoot all lawyers.
2. Make space travel affordable.

Note to all space-loving lawyers: I wasn't talking about you, I meant those ugly space-hating lawyers :wink:

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Post Re: Let's get real about "Space Tourism"!   Posted on: Mon Oct 04, 2004 4:49 pm
This could probably have been written better, but I stayed up all night and all morning to watch the Science Channel live coverage. Exhaustion plus too much coffee plus 3 decades of doing things like drinking too much coffee and staying awake way too long will do that to ya. :lol: (well, OK, the first decade didn't involve coffee)

virgair wrote:
OK! Scaled Composites has done it!~
The X-Prize is won.
"Space tourism" is doable, as far as engineering goes.
I repeat! [You reading this, Bad_Astra?] space tourism
is "technologically" DOABLE. :)

BUT!!! :( :( So were COMMERCIAL supersonic flights [remember
the Concorde, Bad_Astra?]


Sorry to intrude into whatever argument you appear to be trying to start with someone else here on this forum, but I couldn't resist responding to some of this.

Quote:
What can kill the space tourism business?
A lot! :x


Smarter people than ourselves are pondering these issues as we speak, I'm sure.

Quote:
(1) Lawsuits.


I don't know what the status of it is, but I recall recent mention of legislation being circulated to address this problem by permitting space tourism companies to get passengers to sign away their right to sue, beforehand.

Quote:
(2) Media hysteria, if a "space tourist" dies.


The media will be hysterical over just about anything. If everything the media became hysterical over were to fail, we'd all be back to living in caves .. hunting for dinner by hand, since even simple stone-age weapons and tools would more than likely be labelled as assault weapons and banned.

The first few (rich, influential) space tourists will know the risks involved, and take them anyway.. their flights will pay for advancement of the technology to make it safer and cheaper to operate.

Quote:
(3) Lawyers.


See #1.

Quote:
(4) Government restrictions, if a "space tourist dies", or someone on the
ground gets killed by falling debris.


First half of the statement is covered by #1. Second half.. well, <sarcasm>I'm sure there's still a piece of Skylab somewhere with our names on it.</sarcasm> I'm sure precautions will HAVE to be taken to avoid such events, if these companies wish to do business. I believe the FAA people said as much during the live coverage this morning.

Quote:
(5) The Treehuggers.


Ahhh, those silly "treehuggers", always causing problems trying to keep the planet from turning into a cesspool beneath your feet. How dare they? Ha.

Tell your nearest "treehugger" that moving into space just might be to their liking. Space tourism is just the proverbial foot in the door. The real money will probably come from mining N.E.A.s and living in space to process the materials mined. Tell that "treehugger" that it's just possible (although in all honesty, it's not likely) that mining in space could replace planet-based operations at some point. If that fails, just send them on a ride on the "vomit comet" and get them hooked on that weightless feeling.. that just might shut them up.

Truth is, worrying too much about what the "treehuggers" (although I don't consider myself one, you can probably tell that I hate that term) will say about the civilian space industry is pointless.

Quote:
(6) More government restrictions onn a global scale [United Nations meddling]


See #1.

Quote:
(7) Investors who suddenly get cold feet.


Somehow I doubt that will be a problem for any solid operation. If some random Net user like myself has an idea of what kind of money can be made up there, then I'm sure more than a few of the uber-rich, uber-influential types are aware of it as well.

In summary: Relax.. it'll all fall into place, in time. Life's too short, and there's too much out there yet to learn (and exploit, if that's your bag) to stop trying now.

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Post Re: Let's get real about "Space Tourism"!   Posted on: Mon Oct 04, 2004 5:18 pm
In summary: Relax.. it'll all fall into place, in time. Life's too short, and there's too much out there yet to learn (and exploit, if that's your bag) to stop trying now.[/quote]

Well? ...Time will tell whether you are right, or I am.

I do remember that Murphy's Law has a bad habit of overturning opinions,
and ruining ambitious plans. Remember the Zeppelin airships?

Do you want me to be an optimist? or a realist?

Do you want me to wear rose-tinted glasses? Or see things as they really are?

Would I like to see SPACE TOURISM succeed????....

answer:

:D YES I WOULD!!!!!...YOU BET YOUR HOUSE MORTGAGE I DO!!!

But, whether Space-Tourism lasts a long time, OR a short time, regardless, I do predict
that within 3 years, a private manned spacecraft will top the 100 mile-high mark. That would be COOL!!! :wink:


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Post Re: Let's get real about "Space Tourism"!   Posted on: Mon Oct 04, 2004 5:30 pm
virgair wrote:
Quote:
In summary: Relax.. it'll all fall into place, in time. Life's too short, and there's too much out there yet to learn (and exploit, if that's your bag) to stop trying now.


Well? ...Time will tell whether you are right, or I am.

I do remember that Murphy's Law has a bad habit of overturning opinions,
and ruining ambitious plans. Remember the Zeppelin airships?

Do you want me to be an optimist? or a realist?

Do you want me to wear rose-tinted glasses? Or see things as they really are?

Would I like to see SPACE TOURISM succeed????....

answer:

:D YES I WOULD!!!!!...YOU BET YOUR HOUSE MORTGAGE I DO!!!

But, whether Space-Tourism lasts a long time, OR a short time, regardless, I do predict
that within 3 years, a private manned spacecraft will top the 100 mile-high mark. That would be COOL!!! :wink:


People like Paul Allen and Richard Branson did not get where they are now by being stupid. Stupid would be backing something as shaky as what your original post outlines. Doesn't take rose-colored glasses to see that.. just common sense.

It would seem from the tone of at least part of your response that you might be more concerned with arguing for the sake of arguing than answering any of those questions. I hope I am mistaken. I've already seen a few signs here that this place is just as prone to that sort of thing as just about every other easily-accessible forum on the Net.

There's a LOT of money behind just the two people mentioned above, not to mention any other investor that might choose to get involved. They can afford to PAY people to iron out any and all of those type of concerns. Money talks a lot louder than any thread in an Internet forum. :D

As for the Zeppelins.. I seem to recall something about a lack of helium supply due to Allied unwillingness to supply it to a certain loud little German man with a funny mustache and a twitchy right arm, resulting in the need to use hydrogen instead. Of course, that's what I get for watching the History Channel when I get re-e-e-e-eally bored.

EDIT: BTW, I think Burt Rutan and company just struck a significant blow against such "realism" today.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 04, 2004 7:00 pm
So I gather you're the optimist, Strategery? :lol:

Optimist? Realist? Pessimist?....Hmmm....I wonder which I am?
:?
Time will tell...Time kills opinions, or builds them up.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 04, 2004 8:05 pm
on the statement of risks:

How many people have died in cars??? Planes??? Boats???

Yeah, the airliners suffered significantly after 9/11 but they recovered as well. People will know what they are getting themselves into well before they set foot in a space craft. Media will be media and overplay and overdramatize every event until the end of time. I know that I am not alone in saying that after grieving for a friend I lost in 9/11, I DID NOT want to continue to see it on the news for the months and MONTHS that they showed it daily. However that seems to be the media's intent, and there is nothing that we can do to stop them from hurting the space tourism industry if a tragedy were to occur other than continue our support...

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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 04, 2004 10:05 pm
The genie isn't going back in the bottle. People know now that a private group of civiilians can build a spaceship (flown by a self-professed high school dropout). It may not have struck home yet, but it will. I think soon you will see the idea of a spaceship, in many people's minds, go from the iconography of a shuttle liftoff, to spaceflight one blasting into the sky. No one is ever going to be of the opinion (except for a few relics at NAySAy) that spaceflight is the domain of the government any longer. After that, the market will have to meet the demand.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 04, 2004 10:37 pm
I would rather you be a realist Virgair. :)

Wallstreet is comping at the bits for this technology to get off the ground and it has nothing to do with space tourism...

Currently, (and generally) to be worth the money, your communication satellite must stay in orbit for 10 tears. At the current rate of advancement your technology does not only get old but it is genuinely obsolete for the last 5 years of your satellites life. What this actually means is the communication giants of the world are going to push this particular brand of rocket science (reusable) through.

Burts "Tier Two" space ships are going to be orbital craft. This will mean cheap access to all your (if you are a coms giant) satellites and the possibility of upgrading them as necessary. This is going worth a "Huge investment" from some of the richest companies in the world. I have no doubt this technology will not be a "Flash in the pan" kinda thing, but rather will be the latest technological revelotion.

All of this is of course "in my opinion" but I don't think you could label it as just "unsupported fantasy."

As far as space tourism goes it remains to be seen, but there have been plans for it for a long time, and preparations are already underway.
(see Bigelow Aerospace)


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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 05, 2004 3:15 am
Would it lead to larger LEO constellations instead of large GEO satellites?


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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 05, 2004 4:41 am
bad_astra wrote:
Would it lead to larger LEO constellations instead of large GEO satellites?


I think GEO satellites will probably be getting bigger, better and more expensive(as they are now) However there is a limited number of Geo stationary "parking spots" available so after they are all accounted for if you want to put a satellite up it will have to be LEO...

As you can see parking is going fast... :)
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GEO is going to be $$$ for a space company that has the ability to reach that orbit with a repair and/or retrival system. Would you rather junk your billion dollar satellite or hire "Wright Brothers" rocket company for a few hundred thousand to fly up to fix and/or upgrade it?


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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 05, 2004 5:44 am
After watching this morning's launch, my 8 year old son said he figured everyone in America would want to go up. That's what the future thinks, Virg...


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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 05, 2004 5:50 am
I'd rather have a swarm of cheap redundant satellites below the Van Allen belts with electromagnetic tethers doing the same chore, with no gap in coverage.


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