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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    Posted on: Tue Oct 05, 2004 6:21 am
bad_astra wrote:
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.


Even with that Philosophy, cheaper space access good news for you. ;)
(You mean to induce drag only to deorbit them right? Rather than Electrodynamic Tethers proposed for station keeping)

However in the future, I wonder if with cheap acess to orbit, several manned stations, plus full time space tug services, if disposable satellites would would still be cost-effective because the idea is wasteful. (Rememebr when disposable rockets were all the rage? heh heh :))


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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 05, 2004 10:03 pm
yes sorry electrodynamic tethers. :)


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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 06, 2004 1:19 am
virgair wrote:
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.


Lost my phone and Net connection for about 24 hours.. ugh.

I'd say I'm being realistic with just a small bit of optimism brought on by what I saw from the flight and the people involved. I'd say your "realism" has a pretty heavy dose of pessimism.

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Post Re: Let's get real about "Space Tourism"!   Posted on: Thu Oct 07, 2004 9:30 pm
virgair wrote:
I do remember that Murphy's Law has a bad habit of overturning opinions,
and ruining ambitious plans. Remember the Zeppelin airships?

Zeppelins died out for several reasons, one of the last nails in the coffin being the Hindenburg disaster. Newsreel footage of the violently burning Hindenburg shattered public faith in airships largely because the dramatic scene was so novel. Literally nothing like it had ever before been captured on film.

In contrast, most of the people clamoring for space tourism watched the jaw-dropping explosion of the Challenger (which was mercilessly rebroadcast over and over by every major TV news outlet), and more recently the Columbia disaster. I don't want to say we're desensitized, but I think we can agree that everyone is already acutely aware of the dangers of space tourism.


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Post Re: Let's get real about "Space Tourism"!   Posted on: Thu Oct 07, 2004 9:59 pm
virgair wrote:
space tourism is "technologically" DOABLE. :)

BUT!!! :( :( So were COMMERCIAL supersonic flights

The point of commercial supersonic flight is simply to get from point A to point B more rapidly. It is an improvement of the overall experience of getting from A to B, not a new experience in and of itself. When discussing space tourism, a better comparison is zero-g "vomit comet"-style flights. Zero-g flight doesn't serve much purpose other than to be cool but it is a completely unique experience.

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

(1) Lawsuits
(3) Lawyers.

Meh. Several people have correctly pointed out that this can be solved by making everyone sign a mile-long waiver.

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

See my above comment about the Challenger. The first space tourism death will catch exactly nobody by surprise.

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

(5) The Treehuggers.

Bad_astra is right, this genie doesn't want to go back in the bottle. Government restrictions will just guarantee that launches move to nations with less restrictive governments. Does any government really want to drive away the space industry, with all the prestige and tax revenues such an industry would generate?

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

The UN is very reactive in nature. By the time the UN would be moved to meddle in space flight, the sky above us would already be so thick with space craft as to make killing the industry impossible.

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(7) Investors who suddenly get cold feet.

Angel investors are nice to have when no sane venture capital will touch you with a ten-meter cattle prod, but they can be unpredictable. Fortuantely space tourism already has two angels (Allen and Carmack) who aren't showing even the first sign of cold feet. Their enthusiasm will soon attract the "safer" money that moves this business into the mainstream.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 08, 2004 6:29 am
Hello, squirrel,

there are still Zeppelines - they've not died out. I can see sometimes fly one of them around and over Hamburg and Stade. Some of them are flying for advertisement of enterprises, others for the fun of its passengers.

In the german "Bundesland" (State) Brandenburg there is an enterprise constructing the Cargo Lifter - a Zeppeline designed for transportation purposes. The enterpises itself is named CargoLifter too. Unfortunately it has been near bankruptcy and had to announce insolvency - this provides it chances to survive.

And they may provide services and advantages for private spacecrafts and private space travels I think - they could be made use of.



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


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 08, 2004 8:12 am
If you want to get serious about space tourism... or even better yet - getting up into space to actually do something - then we have a LONG way to go. The whole X-prize contest was just a quest to an altitude ... sure there were a number of technical factors to overcome - however the flight of SpaceShipOne was more a matter of putting together pieces of previously gained knowledge together - studies in the aerodynamic heating of high-altitude planes had been done before (X-15 flights by NASA) as well as space flights launched from a plane (X-15 again).... the real meat of the issue was finding people with enough padding in their wallets to go out and do this.

Now the novel question needs to be answered.... how do we reach 200KM into space and get whatever we're launching to go orbital. It's not enough to reach the altitude - you need the bullet you're firing to reach a speed of about 12,000Km/h!!!!! The space shuttle uses 85% of it's stored energy to reach orbital velocity!

So far - I'm unimpressed. My hat will go off to anyone who can reach orbit - even if it's a 2Kg weight - that my friends will be an accomplishment.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 08, 2004 8:23 am
As I said elsewhere - and I repeat it here again - we shouldn't stare at altitudes. Conventional Tourism on earth isn't going to travel for long distances but for something worth to be seen, for adventures or friends etc. living long distances away.

So we mustn't reduce space tourism down to travels for a long distance. And also we mustn't reduce to an orbit.

What we should do is looking for ideas what may be made of space that might be interesting for tourists - we have to be creative and extend our imagination.

This means that the topic "Space Tourism" should be discussed under "Public Perception of Private Space Travel" etc.

Altitudes, Distances, Orbits etc. are subject to exploration but tourism only follows after the exploration.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 08, 2004 8:43 am
It's not even about the concept of "space tourism" ... SpaceShipOne's flight was like making it out to the beach-shore and falling back home.... SpaceShipOne's "historic" space flight has no practical applications.... rockoons and sounding rockets in the 1950s were achieving similar (and higher) altitudes - to me the fundamental question is how to achieve orbit at a reasonable cost.... I'm inclined to think that we need another CATS prize (cheap access to space) - with a similar publicity akin to the X-Prize...


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 08, 2004 8:52 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
As I said elsewhere - and I repeat it here again - we shouldn't stare at altitudes. Conventional Tourism on earth isn't going to travel for long distances but for something worth to be seen, for adventures or friends etc. living long distances away.

So we mustn't reduce space tourism down to travels for a long distance. And also we mustn't reduce to an orbit.


If I'm not mistaken, weren't many of the original flight goals more or less distance-oriented? As in, crossing the Atlantic, crossing the Pacific, crossing America, etc.?

I see nothing wrong in setting a *few* more distance goals in the early going.. but in the long run you would be correct: Fixating on them would be a bad thing.

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What we should do is looking for ideas what may be made of space that might be interesting for tourists - we have to be creative and extend our imagination.


You have to consider the boundaries of the current technology and the near-future possibilities, and see what's there to see within that range. What, really, is there to see in a (for example) 15 minute sub-orbital tourist flight, aside from seeing the Earth from outer space? So all you're selling is A) weightlessness, which can be achieved with the new commercial "vomit comet" (sorry, I love that term.. can't resist using it.. heh) rides for a lot less money.. B) the view of Earth from space, which admittedly I've heard a few astronauts say was a powerful spiritual moment.. C) the view of space, from space.. ok, so no twinkling.. and D) the "wow" factor of being part of (for now, anyway) a select few people to have gone into space. Great for some of us, even better for those who have the money.. but after the initial buzz, not a big deal to most people.

Going with maybe one or two more height (and perhaps also endurance) goals could push teams to the point where they can (hopefully) link up with a space station in orbit.. then you could sell the space-hotel bit, once (if) one is ready. From there, goal-wise, anything is possible.. Lagrange, lunar, whatever.

Quote:
This means that the topic "Space Tourism" should be discussed under "Public Perception of Private Space Travel" etc.


While I *might* agree with you, I've never been terribly fond of publicly chastising people for threads being in the wrong place. That's what moderators and the Move function are for.

Quote:
Altitudes, Distances, Orbits etc. are subject to exploration but tourism only follows after the exploration.



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


While space tourism is a nice concept, it's not going to be the only possible venture.. and probably not the most profitable of them, to boot. Microgravity manufacturing and/or research, asteroid mining, cheaper satellite deployment, etc.. that's what I see from all this. I still say space tourism is a nice "foot in the door" to all these other things.

(as an aside, Ekkehard: it's a tone like this that I consider to be closer to "realism".. since I didn't really answer you in that other thread. That other thread seems negative almost to the point of combativeness)

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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 08, 2004 8:54 am
WHAT_THE_HELL? wrote:
Space Tourism is not suppose to happen until 2071. There's no laws in space. I'm scratching my head. I did research about Burt Rutan's EZlong but actually killed John Denver, a famous singer. Also, rutan successfully build rocketship to go over 300,000 feet. Virgin sign agreement with SS1 . If virgin actually built bigger than 747 and more expensive then we are doom.


Note to a moderator: Could we get an IP check here (without revealing any of it to us, of course) to see if this guy is an alias of that Principles guy that keeps making threads that get locked? Just a hunch..

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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 08, 2004 8:58 am
abraxas wrote:
It's not even about the concept of "space tourism" ... SpaceShipOne's flight was like making it out to the beach-shore and falling back home.... SpaceShipOne's "historic" space flight has no practical applications.... rockoons and sounding rockets in the 1950s were achieving similar (and higher) altitudes - to me the fundamental question is how to achieve orbit at a reasonable cost.... I'm inclined to think that we need another CATS prize (cheap access to space) - with a similar publicity akin to the X-Prize...


SSO's flight was good publicity. I think that's pretty valuable to the spaceflight effort, especially considering how things have looked over around.. say.. Cape Kennedy these days..

Also, how many of those rockets (that you mentioned) in the '50s contained passengers?

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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 08, 2004 9:00 am
Hello, abraxas,

I didn't read your second answer to me completely and concentratedly yet but I can agree to your first answer at least partially.

Suborbital flights as those of SS1 or those Branson has in mind I would compare to short time trips to the german island "Helgoland" in the North Sea 70 km from Cuxhaven or 60 Km from the Schleswig-Holstein shore away. They could be compared to "Kreuzfahrten" ("Cruising" in English? What's the right translation?) too I think.

Trips like these I consider to be tourism too because they are parts of supplied journey figured out by special firms sometimes.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 08, 2004 9:01 am
WHAT THE HELL wrote:
... whatever ...

I want this guy banned. I want his family banned. I want his modem burned to the ground. I want go there in the middle of the night and piss on its ashes.

DKH

(guess the movie)

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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 08, 2004 9:15 am
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SSO's flight was good publicity. I think that's pretty valuable to the spaceflight effort, especially considering how things have looked over around.. say.. Cape Kennedy these days..

Also, how many of those rockets (that you mentioned) in the '50s contained passengers?


Yes, I wholeheartedly agree. It was GREAT publicity - made by some extremely rich people who know how to publicize! Over at the Kennedy Launch Centre things look pretty bleak. I mean they have no goal, no enemy to race against. Things look pretty exciting over in China though!

Sure all of the rockets I mentioned from the 50s didn't have passengers on them. But honestly that's just a matter of payload, and not much more. The studies have already been done - Scaled Composites have just put all the answers from their homework together. The REAL innovators in the 50s had to do all the research for themselves ... hats of to them; not to the participants of a multi-million dollar publicity stunt.


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