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|Origin:||presented at the 9th European Aerospace Congress - Visions and Limits of Long-Term Aerospace Developments, May 15, 1996, Berlin.|
Space tourism has been envisioned since the '60s when Ehricke and Hilton published the idea of travelling to space for no other reason than having fun. Although millions of people worldwide would see a trip into space as the fulfilment of their lifetimes' dreams and would therefore subscribe to such an idea instantly, no action was taken by space agencies to set up adequate opportunities. On the contrary, the men in charge of crewed space programs frequently see space tourism as "only a flight of fantasy".
When Society Expeditions, a leading adventure tourism company, announced in 1985 the beginning of space tours, the idea of space tourism gained new momentum. Especially through the very promising market potential figures Society Expeditions revealed. Several studies have been performed since then considering the impact of space tourism to the aerospace industry. From the very beginning they showed that space tourism has to be seen as a global enterprise, because of the insufficient demand a single country could establish in the early stages of service. So the need for global market research emerged.
This paper presents recent efforts undertaken to determine the market potential of space tourism. It also shows an overall comparison of the results of space tourism market surveys recently performed in Japan, Germany and the USA. In addition, an approach will be presented which leads to the calculation of global demand figures by using data from these market surveys. Based on these figures, the prospects of space tourism with its implications to the aerospace industry will be assessed.
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