5 September 1998
News - Other (None)
AIAA Workshop Report Supports Space Tourism
Recommends: "...public space travel should be viewed as the next large, new area of commercial space activity"
by Patrick Collins
The Report of the AIAA/ CEAS/ CASI Workshop on International Cooperation in Space held in Banff Canada in January 1998 has been published, and it includes strong support for the creation of a space tourism industry.

The workshop was the 4th in a series, and comprised 5 working parties,
of which one was on public space travel - the first time that this subject has been dealt with in this series of workshops.

In the introductory section of the report, out of the 11 formal findings, number 9 was:

"One of the more ambitious and space-motivating ventures would be the introduction of a viable space tourism industry.

Terrestrial tourism accounts for some $3-4 trillion per year in revenues, and projections indicate that space tourism could be as much as 1% of that total. Such an industry may be closer to reality than we think because of the large potential commercial market and the fact that space launch technology may permit such a venture in 5-10 years. Market surveys have indicated high public interest, and a large multi-billion dollar market, if fares can be made commensurate with current "high adventure" excursions (less than $100,000 per ticket). This effort will be international because of both its worldwide interest and the implications such an industry will have on worldwide services, operations, standards, and restrictions. Government-to-government,government-to-industry, and industry-to-industry relationships will be a necessary element of this international industry, much as international tourism is today."

Also, of the 9 formal recommendations, number 7 was:

"In light of its great potential, public space travel should be viewed as the next large, new area of commercial space activity.

It will be international by its nature and should be given high priority and visibility by space agencies, space manufacturing and service industries, terrestrial travel and tourism industries, and the financial and insurance communities."

Pages 25-30 of the 54-page report comprised the report of the Working Group on Public Space Travel chaired by Ivan Bekey.

The working group's mandate was "Recommend steps that should be taken internationally to enable and facilitate travel to and from space for the general public", and the report comprised:

Executive Summary
Findings 1-6
  1. Public space travel is closer at hand than most people realize.
  2. Such travel has the potentialto become a huge space market.
  3. Public space travel can be initiated with current technology.
  4. Making orbital flights available to the public will require development of new-technology transportation vehicles
  5. Public space travel involves many international issues.
  6. International preparatory activites are needed to facilitate public space travel
  1. In view of its great potential, public space travel should be accorded high priority and visibility by space agencies, space manufacturing and service industries, travel and tourism industries, and the financial and insurance communities.
  2. A dedicated, private, international group should be formed to facilitate the formation of private businesses that would provide public space travel;.
  3. The rapid removal from orbit of dangerous debris should be addredssed by the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (also known as IADC).
  4. An appropriate worldbody should address the international legal aspects of public space travel with the aim of facilitating the provision of services by private ventures.
  5. The international standards aspects of public space travel should be addressed by an appropriate world body, with the aim of facilitating globabl interoperability of equipment and services by private ventures.
  6. The medical and biotechnical aspets of taking large numbers of private citizens into, through, and back from spcae should be addressed in an international forum.
  7. The AIAA International Activities Committee, in concert with the IAF, the IAA, and public interest groups, should be tasked to assess various organization options for the above recommendations.
Reference: Demand for Space Tourism in America and Japan

This report is the first time that the AIAA has dealt with the subject of space tourism, and the result is very positive. Added to the NASA/STA report in March and other recent developments , this is most encouraging.

As a follow-up, the Working Group's recommendation to hold a workshop on space tourism under the auspices of the IAA is to be realised at the annual IAF Congress in Melbourne in October, at which there is also a session on space tourism for the second time.

The full text of the report of the working group on public space travel is now available here. - SFJ
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Patrick Collins 5 September 1998
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