The Contemporary Insignificance of Space Tourism
Pp. 58-89 (32)
Dirk C. Gibson
A systematic analysis of the published literature on commercial space tourism
resulted in the identification of ten major factors indicative of the relative insignificance of
this industry and the tourist activity at the present time. Initially, there has been a severely
limited number of space tourists, with only a few pioneers to date. There is currently little
space tourism activity, and there is no contemporary space tourism industry. Presently there
is an inadequate space tourism infrastructure. The space tourism market remains unproven.
Contemporary space transportation technology inadequacy limits space access.
Historically, most commercial space ventures have failed. The American space access gap
was documented, as the retirement of the space shuttles left the U.S. without space access
until the Ares/Orion replacement systems are ready as scheduled in 2014 or later (as is
most likely, given the current projected two-year delays). Reliance on Russian space
tourism access may be an issue, in light of Russian reliability issues, Russian lead time
requirements, and Russian space industry problems. Transportation dangers were identified
and documented, including rocket safety, space tourism risks, launch failures, accidents in
space, reentry accidents, spacecraft damage, and earth weather. Finally, we identified the
limiting factor of cost or pricepoint. Both suborbital and orbital space tourism pricepoints
were surveyed and documented.
American space gap, commercial reusable launch vehicle,
entrepreneurship, european space agency, federal aviation agency, government
regulation, insurance, launch site, leadtime requirement, market study, orbital space
tourism, personal spaceflight Federation, spacecraft, space pioneer, space Shuttle,
suborbital space tourism, pricepoint, rocket, rocket safety, vision for space exploration.
University of New Mexico Member of National Space Society Department of Communication & Journalism USA