21 November 2002
Online - Tourism (Good)
On-Line Space Tourism Survey
What Real People Want from Space
by Jason Black

There have been several surveys about the potential market for space tourism. However, they have mostly been "closed", in the sense that the only people who got to participate were those who were actually asked. I am trying to change this by running an ongoing public space tourism survey on the worldwide web.

Another way my survey differs is in the scenarios I ask about. While the recent Futron survey focused on sub-orbital flights - because that's what the march of technology will enable first - my survey concentrates on orbital scenarios and beyond. I believe the true space tourism market will not show itself until orbital scenarios are a reality. Sub-orbital flight seems to me like holding your breath to swim around near the bottom of a swimming pool, which is not an experience people pay much for. To complete the analogy, orbital flight will be like a scuba dive in the ocean: people do pay a lot for scuba training, equipment, and trips to exciting dive locales.

The third way my survey differs is that my results are free. The results of surveys conducted by commercial market research firms are sold - often at high prices. My survey results are available for all to see.

My survey has been running since late August, 2002, collecting almost 400 responses so far. Although this a statistically small sample, it is already larger than the samples in some other surveys. In order to generate responses I have solicited responses from friends, family, and members of my local amateur astronomical society. I have run ads on a few websites such as bbspot.com, and have received some pro-bono links from non-space-related websites such as savekaryn.com. So the results should be becoming progressively more representative of the "general internet-using public".

However, I am attempting to survey as broad a slice of the public as I can, and actively encourage my site's visitors to tell their friends about it. If you haven't done so already, please take my survey. It only takes a few minutes - and after all, you can't go into space if nobody knows you want to!

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21 November 2002
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