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Future of Space Tourism

Space tourism will be of great importance to industry in future Space tourism will be of great importance to industry in future

The 40th anniversary of the moon landing draws attention to the general technological stagnation at the macro level that has occurred in the West since the 1970s. The lack of human expansion in deep space perfectly corresponds to the absence of new mega-projects in the United States as well as in other economically powerful nations. The US government did not just give up on building lunar bases and ISS-type docking platforms in the 70s and 80s when technology allowed it more than expected. It has also renounced attempts to provide mass affordable housing (using the best conceptual research and recommendations), continued exploration of faster and cheaper transcontinental travel, new mega-canals/highways/railways/tunnels/bridges, and concentrated efforts to use the Earth's oceans for national and global improvement. National GDP since the 1950s (when the United States imitated the highway with the Interstate Highway Act of 1956) has grown exponentially while the willingness to engage in large projects has stagnated ever more.

The media like to say that continuous space expansion has become too expensive and superfluous since the Soviet Union abandoned its lunar program. How would they explain the abandonment of major efforts to make supersonic travel safe and widely used or to link NATO space with high-speed rail networks? Of course, there are ready explanations from the structural economic point of view. The Soviets exceeded their industrial economic peak in the 60s while the American civilizational peak (with a similar subsequent decline) was in the early 1970s. This explanation would also explain the physical inability to build impressively at home towards the end of the 20th century. Middle Western powers such as England, Germany and France all experienced stagnation in the 1970s after the heady days of postwar consumer booms.

This tangible explanation does not explain the loss of creative will among the world's governments. The ancient desire for national greatness (which China so easily demonstrates nowadays) left the West with the ambitions of the lunar colonies. Western oligarchs and adventurous playboys have not sufficiently followed their nationalist predecessors in the quest for glory. It was enough for them to speculate on money in a personal playground that is the globalizing world.

Of course, they imitated previous tycoons in terms of support for militarism and financially parasitic existence (from the 1870s to the 1950s) but not as much in terms of bold stunts. The decades since the 1970s have not really seen the equivalents of Howard Hughes (Scorsese's Aviator Base), Thomas Edison or Andrew Carnegie. Only militarism and mass financial manipulation on a global scale remained after some cosmetic changes.

We haven't seen Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or George Soros try to develop affordable air travel, try to get support to turn the world's deserts into new farmland, or similar efforts toward impressive historical milestones. This construction was delegated to the needs of corporate shareholders and governments under the constant ideological pressure of the free market. The trend has continued even after the maximum income tax on the wealthy has risen from 70-80% in the 1950s and 1960s to 35% today. The U.S. government had fewer resources to spend by not taxing the rich enough, and the rich themselves became less willing to engage in tangible building and development in search of glory.

To be fair, the United States has a lot of restrictions on private development and space exploration. Nor has the government been proactive in encouraging private competitions to take technological steps by awarding prizes. Only half a century after the first manned flights, we began to hear about things like the Ansari X price (and even then private pockets) to stimulate the development of cheap private vehicles capable of reaching orbit. The taxpayer-funded awards went mainly to new, less inspiring weapon systems. The material benefits that technology derived from space exploration brings to humanity are undeniable. Thus, the lack of sufficiently concentrated efforts of the state to develop new ways for humans to move and live (or actively encourage private development) is an irresponsible betrayal of the national interest.

New Participants

Several new companies have begun selling tickets or announcing future dates for sightseeing flights into space:

Virgin Galactic

 A publicly traded company founded by British businessman Richard Branson, reportedly received more than 8,000 booking requests to travel aboard its rocket in February 2020. The company says it has received down payments from 600 of these customers. Its planned flight profile consists of an aircraft and a second-stage vehicle that separates once the main craft reaches a certain altitude and uses a rocket to propel it into suborbital space, an altitude at which passengers will temporarily feel weightlessness without entering orbit. To date, no paying customer has ever flown aboard a suborbital spacecraft. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company had publicly announced plans to begin flying tourists by 2022 from its spaceport in New Mexico, but its operations were delayed by the virus, according to stock filings.

Blue Origin

A private company controlled by Amazon.com general Manager Jeff Bezos, East build a rocket and a passenger capsule to send a crew of six tourists into space for several minutes from a launch site in west Texas. The company has tested the rocket, New Shepherd, dozens of times with a dummy on board covered with sensors to determine how the trips might affect future human customers. Blue Origin did not disclose information about when tourists could fly on the rocket, what tourist training may be needed or the anticipated price of a flight.

Orbital holidays

Orbital tourism, which involves staying in space for at least one full orbit, is another major goal of government agencies and private space companies, all of which have the long-term goal of inhabiting the moon and Mars. Plans by Boeing, SpaceX and Axiom Space plan to start launching tourists to the International Space Station on commercial spacecraft as early as this year. SpaceX is also partnering with Space Adventures to send four tourists into low Earth orbit for a few days in late 2021 or early 2022.

As more and more companies consider space tourism, orbital vacations are expected to become a popular trend. Orbital vacation infrastructure, including orbital and lunar hotels, is well positioned to become lucrative, as space infrastructure companies have already transported a total of $ 3.6 billion so far this year.

Much of this infrastructure remains at a preliminary stage, but the first approach could be to establish hotels in low orbit. One design of the hotel plans to send guests in a hydrogen-filled balloon with a pressurized capsule, using the gravity of the Earth. There are choices which includes the design and renovation of the existing space station to meet the expectations of guests. For example, NASA has opened the International Space Station to commercial tourism.

The Aurora Station, a planned luxury hotel that will accommodate six guests for $ 9.5 million, a 12-day stay in low Earth orbit, will charge $ 9.5 million for the trip. It's expensive, but experts predict that prices will fall as they have in the technology industry for computers and mobile phones.

A proposal for expandable space habitats can also serve as orbital hotels. Made from unique materials and easily stored at home, they are launched into the space where they are inflated to full size. Bigelow Space invented the B330, a space habitat that expands to form a hotel or living space for humans in space. As demand increases, they are interconnected with other inflatable habitats to increase their size. Bigelow also plans to develop an inflated module attached to the International Space Station as one of the first hotels in space. Space holidays will ultimately be the gateway to habitation on the moon and Mars.

Private Spaceflight

Private Spaceflight is not a new concept. In the United States, commercial companies played a role in the aerospace industry from the beginning: Since the 1960s, NASA has relied on private contractors to build spacecraft for all major manned spaceflight programs, starting with the Mercury Project and continuing until today. Today, NASA's Commercial Crew program is developing the agency's relationships with private companies. Thanks to this, NASA relies on SpaceX and Boeing to build spacecraft capable of carrying humans into orbit. Once these vehicles are built, the two companies retain ownership and control of the spacecraft, and NASA can send astronauts into space for a fraction of the cost of a seat on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. SpaceX, which has established a new paradigm by developing reusable rockets, has been carrying out regular refueling missions to the International Space Station since 2012. And in May 2020, the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft transported NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the ISS, becoming the first manned mission launched from the United States in nearly a decade. The mission, called Demo-2, is expected to return to Earth in August. Boeing is currently developing its Starliner spacecraft and expects to begin transporting astronauts to the ISS in 2021.

The industrial importance of the future space tourism

According to an estimate by the World Travel and Tourism Council, annual global expenditures in the land tourism sector amounted to approximately US $ 3.4 billion for the year 1995. Therefore, tourism is one of the largest industries in the world. If it were possible to transfer only a small percentage of global land tourism spending to a future space tourism market, this could double civil space budgets to $ 60 billion. This would create up to half a million new jobs also in the high-tech space industry if we assume that a sales volume of 5 50,000 to 2 250,000 creates one job. If a space tourism company could be established in the future, the scientific and operational knowledge - acquired globally from decades of research and experience in human spaceflight (e.g. by astronaut training centres or aerospace medical institutions)-could be applied to the medical preparation and supervision of future space tourists. In addition, tourist space flights could be planned, controlled and supervised by existing space operations centres in Europe, the United States or Russia. Once a space tourism market is established, large commercial industrial conglomerates will cooperate in strategic alliances to operate and develop space tourism activities comparable to the land tourism and telecommunications industries. The main motivation for industrial investment in the space tourism sector will be the potential for very high achievable returns, which can be expected due to the billion-dollar market potential.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 08 September 2021 00:25

My name is Georgios Gregoriadis. I am an experienced physicist with a strong background in Astronomy. I graduated from the University of Ioannina in 2002. I am a private teacher and owner of this website.

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