07 May 1995
Other - Other (None)
Orbit Award for Space Future Founder
Given by Space Tourism Society
Peter Wainwright, one of the two founders of Space Future, has received an Orbit Award, given by Space Tourism Society.

Below is his acceptance speech, given by Sam Coniglio at the 25th annual International Space Development Conference:

It is a great pleasure and a great honor to be selected to receive this award, and I'd like to thank the Space Tourism Society for this acknowledgment. It has also been a privilege to work with the Space Tourism Society, and I congratulate them on their 10th anniversary for their tireless dedication and hard work in advancing the cause of space tourism – not least of which is tonight's ceremony.

This year is also the 10th anniversary of Space Future. Back then, the mass-market Internet was still nascent – incredible as that seems today – and it was hard to communicate to people outside the field what the excitement was all about.

We decided there was a need for a public resource advocating space tourism itself – to make the growing body of work on space tourism, space power, and related topics available to a wider audience. As people understand today, an easily-findable web resource is uniquely effective for disseminating information in a minority field. And in 1996, space tourism was most definitely a minority interest.

I remember attending space conferences, not so long ago, at which the very idea of space tourism was considered ridiculous – it had what we called 'the giggle factor'. At that time, most companies trying to break into space transportation were focused on the satellite launch market – even though it should have been obvious that it would never provide the necessary demand. How times have changed. Now space tourism is on everyone's lips, and nearly everyone's business plans too. I shouldn't say “We told you so”... but, well, I'm going to anyway.

So today's event, and this Orbit Award, are welcome proof that we have been on the right path for the last decade. The collection of great people here today – both guests and my co-recipients – is evidence that we have the momentum to realize space tourism at last.

Space tourism is an industry with explosive potential, and the ability to trigger growth and innovation in the surrounding economy – especially the ailing aerospace industry. And people around the world need a positive vision of the future that they can invest in, not just financially, but culturally as well.

Space tourism is not just a matter of expensive joy-rides by a few rich people, as some critics like to claim. Such comments show a total failure to grasp the true significance of what is happening: When the cost of reaching orbit is brought down to 1% of space agencies' costs, just 15 to 20 years from now, space will be transformed from a barrier apparently trapping us on this little planet into a cornucopia, offering us unlimited horizons for growth, economic expansion, and adventure far outside Earth's fragile ecosystem.

We are, finally, on the threshold of our true space future – a genuine belle epoque of space activity. All we need now is to step forward with confidence, and the stars will follow.
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07 May 1995
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