3 February 2000
Media - Tourism (None)
Flurry of New Year/Century/Millennium Articles on Space Tourism
Spreading into the mainstream...
by Patrick Collins
A surprising number of "special reports" on the 21st century published in newspapers and magazines fail even to mention the possibility of space tourism - which shows just how blind they are. That's because the growth of space tourism is going to be a "core change" in human society through the 21st century, as the spread of air travel world-wide was a core change of 20th century society. (It would be an interesting project for a student (perhaps studying the history of technology?) to survey and record how inaccurate these turn-of-the-century articles were.)

Despite this, there has been an unprecedented flurry of articles on space tourism at the start of the year - another sign of the growing acceptance of the idea of "ordinary" people going to space as not just a quaint fantasy, but as a real possibility. Some of these are listed below. (Other contributions welcome!)

"Space gains viability as travel site"

By Barry M. Horstman
Cincinatti Post, January 1

"Space tourism - once a fanciful notion - may be on the verge of becoming fact, if visionaries from former astronauts to savvy entrepreneurs have their way. By 2020, the World Tourism Organization predicts space travel will become commonplace..."

The article quotes Buzz Aldrin on the need to "democratize space" (a good way of putting it), and David Ashford of Bristol Spaceplanes Ltd saying "Space tourism will begin 10 years after people stop laughing." It also refers to Zegrahm, Space Adventures, price and safety, and to people who "scoff" at these ideas. Typically, these people don't give their names.

"Designers seek to fill void of extraterrestrial lodging"
by Judi Dash
The Sacramento Bee, January 2

"Ambitious architects are not letting the little matter of no way to get there hold them back from designing orbiting hotels and lunar resorts..."

The article covers plans for the "Lunar Hilton", the Space Islands plan for a rotating hotel, John Spencer of the Space Tourism Society describing plans for a fleet of zero G hotels and Greg Bennett of Bigelow Aerospace on potential entertainments on the lunar surface. John Spencer raises the interesting debate between those who favour rotating accommodation versus those who favour zero G.

"Things to Come"
by Jay Clarke
Chicago Tribune, January 16

"You board your vehicle, a rocket sitting on its tail on the concrete apron of the spaceport, strap yourself in... and soon you're blasting off into space. First stop: the Hilton Orbiter Hotel, a zero-gravity lodge in orbit around the Earth. Sound like science fiction? Indeed it does, but some serious people are putting down hard money to make these one-time fantasies come true in the 21st century..."

The piece covers a range of issues, discussing space tourism scenarios by companies such as Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo for space resorts as concrete business plans, including a space resort opening by 2017 (using space shuttle external propellant tanks), and at least mentioning the need for reusable rockets to lower launch costs.

"Beam me up, Scotty"
by Ann Fasano
MSN Underwire, January

"If you think you can still impress the Jones's with snapshots from your recent safari, forget it. If you want to run with the jet set, you'd better be booking a room at the Intergalactic Hilton..."

A short but encouraging article on space tourism at
http://underwire.msn.com/Underwire/social/InBrief/58inbrief.asp with some well-chosen quotes from Space Future - for which they very decently give a hyper-link.

"Who Needs NASA? Do-it-yourself Astropreneurs are bucking the system to put a schmo in orbit"
by Dan Brekke

"Book Me A Double - With a view of Venus"
by Julie Wakefield
both Wired, January

Two long articles covering most of the usual players in the field.

"Space Tourism - Fanfare for a New Century"
by Patrick Collins
Futureframe, January

Summarising the arguments for space tourism, and the resistance of government-funded space agencies for the general reader, the article re-emphasises - as is hardly mentioned in most articles about the 21st century - that popular space travel will be for the 21st century what aviation was for the 20th.

"The Ultimate Trip"
by James Clash
Forbes, 7 February

"You could do on yet another trek in Patagonia or Kenya. Or you could get in line for a ticket to outer space..."

The piece concentrates on the sub-orbital flights being offered by Space Adventures, with discussion also of Rotary Rocket CEO Gary Hudson, investor Tom Clancy and sub-contractor Burt Rutan, the "X" Prize and founder Peter Diamandis.

In a side-bar entitled "Why not NASA?" it quotes Edward Hudgins of the Cato Institute saying:
"NASA has attempted to monopolize nearly all space-related activities so it can justify... its budget. It is the private sector that always brings down costs and increases the quality of goods and services. That's why they should pioneer space tourism."


Other articles appeared in USA Today and San Jose Mercury News (but are no longer accessible), and no doubt plenty of non-English language newspapers and magazines.

Thanks to Mark Reiff for many of these - SFJ
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Patrick Collins 3 February 2000
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