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Published:February 2000
Origin:Proceedings of Space 2000, ASCE, pp 594-603. Presentented at Space 2000, Albuquerque, March 2000

Over the past few years the general perception of space tourism has changed from being considered "science fiction" to becoming recognised as an important new target for the space industry. This change has been stimulated in part by the Space Tourism Study Program of the Japanese Rocket Society (JRS), which led to the development of a scenario that has received general consensus: if some $12 billion of funding became available in the near future, commercial passenger space travel services to and from Earth orbit could begin in 2010. At a growth rate of some 100,000 passengers/year/year the business could reach 700,000 passengers/ year by 2017, at a price of about $25,000 /passenger.

The importance of this result is that $12 billion is less than half of one year's funding of government space agencies today, and it is therefore readily affordable. The paper extrapolates the JRS scenario to the year 2030, based on market research results. By that time space tourism activities could have grown to a scale of $100 billion/year, creating several million jobs. It thereby demonstrates the very great economic value of such a development - approximately $1 trillion greater than the value of continued taxpayer funding of space agencies' activities without developing space tourism. The paper also discusses the potentially critical importance of this new industry in maintaining economic growth in the world economy against the deflationary pressures caused by excess capacity in older industries, and inadequate investment in new ones.

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