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Published:October 1998
Origin:invited speech to EXPLOSPACE Workshop
Abstract:Low cost access to orbit requires reusable launch vehicles with long life, short turn-around time and low maintenance cost. If maturity comparable with airliners can be achieved, the cost per person to orbit would be reduced to around 10,000 Euros, some 1000 times less expensive than the cost today. Aerospace history suggests that a technology matures some ten years after its first operational use. Prototype spaceplanes are now under development that could enter service in about five years. Thus it may be possible to achieve the 1000 times launch cost reduction within about fifteen years. This would require a large commercial demand in order to fund the continuous product improvement from prototype to maturity. Space tourism is the future use of space most likely to provide this commercial demand. Sub-orbital tourism flights could start in about seven years.
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