Commercial Space Tourism: Impediments to Industrial Development and Strategic Communication Solutions

Indexed in: Scopus

The general themes of this analysis of the commercial space tourism industry include three main topics; 1) Benefits of commercial space tourism to numerous stakeholders, 2) The viability of ...
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The Potential Significance of Space Tourism

Pp. 3-29 (27)

Dirk C. Gibson


Space tourism industry profit projections unanimously portended optimistic and even favorable prospects for the new enterprise. The specific space tourism economic benefits were described and documented from a quartet of salient sources. Space tourismrelated revenue included direct revenue, economic growth, employment and the multiplier effect. The consequences of space tourism industrial development for the U.S. aerospace industry were described. The benefits of commercial space development were investigated. Likely to prosper from the commercialization of space: manufacturing, mining, biomedical research and astronomy. The concept of a safety net was considered; it suggested that an off-planet capacity might be needed because of dangers to the Earth. These terrestrial travails might include resource depletion, comets, asteroids and meteors, environmental degradation, war and biosphere destruction. Seven ways were identified in which space tourism facilitates space development: motivation of alternate commercial space development, generation of consumer interest in space, facilitation of development of space infrastructure, promotion of financing of space development projects, reduction in the cost of space access, encouragement of technological development and the promotion of regulatory reform. Environmental consequences of commercial space tourism industrial development are cause for concern and careful consideration. The Earth may contaminate space, and/or outer space might contaminate the Earth. Space may become polluted and the Earth might be similarly sullied and polluted. Space tourists might commit acts of vandalism in space. Earthside-space tourism operations might produce terrestrial noise pollution and there was the ever-present possibility of explosions. Finally, the pervasive presence of lunar dust was described as a hazard.


Asteroid, biomedical research, biosphere, comet, contamination, direct revenue, economic benefit, employment, environmental degradation, infrastructure, lunar dust, multiplier effect, off-planet capacity, resource depletion, safety net, space commercialization, space manufacturing, space mining, space privatization, space tourism.


University of New Mexico Member of National Space Society Department of Communication & Journalism USA