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Space Future has been on something of a hiatus of late. With the concept of Space Tourism steadily increasing in acceptance, and the advances of commercial space, much of our purpose could be said to be achieved. But this industry is still nascent, and there's much to do. this space.
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T Rogers, March 20-22, 1997, "Some Views on Space Tourism from the United States", Presented by Eric W. Stallmer, The Space Transportation Association, At the International Symposium on Space Tourism, Bremen, Germany March 20-22, 1997.
Also downloadable from views on space tourism from the united states.shtml

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Some Views on Space Tourism from the United States
T. F. Rogers

Earlier, the President of The Space Transportation Association (STA) in the United States, T.F. Rogers, had agreed to attend and give a Paper at this symposium. Subsequently he found that he could not be here, He sends his apology for his absence.

He asked me if I would come in his place and present this paper and I agreed to do so. I am the Executive Director of the Association, I work closely with Mr. Rogers there, particularly in the area of space tourism.

If questions are raised re his paper that I do not feel altogether comfortable in answering, please give them to me along with your name, address and phone/FAX number. I will give them to him upon my return and he will communicate with you.

What follows is Mr. Rogers' paper:

For over a year both NASA and STA have been engaged in a cooperative study. This study addresses the question: "What should the United States do to see a potentially large space tourism business created ?

Internal papers have been written by STA and NASA staff and by others in the U.S. acquainted with space and/or terrestrial travel and tourism. A national study Steering Group was formed. At this Group's suggestion a Space Tourism "Workshop" was organized and conducted at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. About 50 professionals and business People Participated therein over 3-day interval last month. They addressed a wide variety of space tourism issues.

The study is still in progress, with NASA and STA people now beginning to think out and fashion a draft of the study's report which will be presented to the Steering group for its judgment. Therefore, I am not in a position to speak to the study's findings. But I can make some observations to you that reflect my long interest with space tourism, and personal observations that I have made during the study interval.

In 1982-1984 I directed a space-related study for the Congress of the United States. The final report of that study stated that: "Only when large numbers of our citizens, representative of a broad cross-section of our society, begin to experience the 'space adventure' directly, will the space domain and space activities gradually begin to move into the mainstream of our national interests... .., [1]

We now can clearly see the day approaching when private enterprise, acting in cooperation with our Federal Government, will see space travel and tourism services begin to be made available to the general public.

Many may see space tourism as simply an extrapolation of the terrestrial tourism business. But the creation of a thriving space tourism business would also:

  • Be the most appropriate thing that a large democracy could do in space -- something that would be understood and appreciated by our citizens and those in other countries throughout the world;

  • Result in a new business area with the potential to generate a multi-billion dollar per year revenue stream;

  • Would, in the nature of things, lead to the conceptualization of new things to do in space;

  • Go far toward recapturing the U.S. general public as a large constituent group supporting our Federal civil space program -a group who's support is languishing because of that program's concentration upon activities that are valued by only a relatively few of us;

  • Be of direct and important value to the Private financing of a post-Shuttle generation of surface- LEO passenger-carrying vehicles and of post- International Space Station in-orbit residential spaces; and

  • By requiring that the safety and reliability of space infrastructure be increased sharply and its unit cost lowered sharply in order to be a large and profitable business, the impact thereof would be felt throughout the entire space world, defense, civil and commercial.

Indeed, it would be one of the most important space things done since the Apollo era a quarter of a century ago.

Considering its importance, why has it not already been accomplished ? For several reasons:

  • Many of those in charge of our human space flight activities have something of a "purist" view of space. In their view space is to be a perfect place -- a "cathedral" wherein perfect people do perfectly wonderful things. It is not to be host to ordinary people or activities;

  • The Shuttle Challenger disaster of 1986 in which several people, including the particularly likable schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, died in a particularly terrible and public fashion;

  • There is essentially no price elasticity in the human space flight market. Government budgets remain constrained so that, even if the cost of space fell to near zero, the funds available for payloads would only double, approximately. This and the political circumstances that rule all government programs removes most of the initiative for unit cost reduction; and

  • In the mid 1980s, the first space tourism start-ups, Society Expeditions and Space Public, were failures

But much of this past is now behind us. Not all of it is, but enough is so that we can begin to think seriously again about seeing a viable space tourism business being created. We can now begin to address the goal of seeing thousands of people from the general public visiting the Earth's space each year.

While there are many things that need to be thought out, and many issues to be resolved, the most important matter to be appreciated is that this goal cannot be attained until we have one or more new passenger-carrying vehicle fleets whose performance exceeds that of today's Shuttle fleet by orders of magnitude, and whose acquisition and O& M costs are lower, also by orders of magnitude. And analogously for in-orbit habitable volume re the ISS.

In this context we could proceed alone two parallel paths:

  • Put in place cooperative Private and public programs to develop the needed space infrastructure and operating methods; and at the same time

  • Start offering surface, near-surface and up-to-space tourism services to obtain experience, generate capital needed for advanced services and stimulate the market for in-orbit services.

In the United States we now have:

  • Completed the fully reusable DC-X "Clipper Graham" experimental vehicle program and started the NASA-Lockheed/Martin X-33 fully reusable vehicle development and demonstration program;

  • A half-dozen private vehicle development programs of varying character and with varying financial strength attempting to achieve much lower surface- LEO cargo-carrying capabilities that could be extended to passenger carrying;

  • We have one human microgravity A/C flight service, with prospects for more;

  • A private "X-Prize" Foundation which, if successfully funded, would stimulate the development and demonstration passenger-carrying vehicles that could reach an altitude of 50 miles -the edge of space; and

  • A flourishing pre-space terrestrial space tourism business -one in which well over 10 million people per year now spend the order of $1 billion per Year to visit space-related research centers, launch sites, museums and meetings.

One final matter must also be appreciated. Most discussion of space tourism still springs from the "provider push" side -- from those who would develop, acquire and operate vehicle-fleets and LEO hotels, but relatively little comes from the "user pull" side -- those who would provide the tourism services. And there is little discussion of vital private financing issues.

Therefore, more attention must be even to such things as:

  • Imaginative infrastructure financing methods;
  • Widespread space tourism merchandising; and
  • Active and widespread involvement of today's terrestrial travel and tourism interests.

Two final observations:

  • In this international forum I wish to compliment those who have been conducting the pioneering space tourism studies in Japan under the aegis of the Japanese Rocket Society. In particular I wish to praise the leadership of Makoto Nagatomo and Patrick Collins there. Without their imaginative and determined professional work, and that of their colleagues, we would certainly not be nearly as far advanced in our space tourism thinking and planning as we are today.

  • Almost all of the technology that is now used to see people travel to/from space was developed during the "Cold War". As we look to its adaptation and widespread private use in the human space flight area, I am reminded of an observation made by John le Carre'. the British author of the Book "The Spy Who Came In From The Cold". In his later book "The Secret Pilgrim" [2]. In reflecting upon the views of the Western democracies then, he observed that " the Cold War ... [w]e concealed the very things that made us right [:] Our respect for the individual, our love of variety and argument, our belief that you can only govern fairly with the consent of the governed [and] our capacity to see the other fellows view...

Today human space flight is still an area of government preserve focusing upon the interests primarily of technology developers and scientists, It is time for those fundamental human social and political values underlined by le Carre' to exhibit a much greater presence in Low Earth Orbit and beyond. And the way for this to come about is to see space tourism flourish.

Thank you.

  1. Office of Technology Assessment, November 1984, " Civilian Space Stations and the U.S. Future in Space", U.S. Congress, page 118
  2. 1991; Alfred A. Knopf, New York, publishers; the first page of chapter 6
T Rogers, March 20-22, 1997, "Some Views on Space Tourism from the United States", Presented by Eric W. Stallmer, The Space Transportation Association, At the International Symposium on Space Tourism, Bremen, Germany March 20-22, 1997.
Also downloadable from views on space tourism from the united states.shtml

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