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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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M Nagatomo, 1993, "On JRS Space Tourism Study Program", Journal of Space Technology and Science: Special Issue on Space Tourism, Vol 9, No 1, pp 3-7..
Also downloadable from jrs space tourism study program.shtml

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On JRS Space Tourism Study Program
Makoto Nagatomo
JRS Committee for Academic Activities
1. Introduction

Space activities are considered to provide people with futuristic expectations and dreams of new frontiers. But on the contrary, the reality of space activities is facing a slowdown of national projects in the former Soviet Union and even in the United States. Generally in the world it is difficult to continue ongoing space projects and to extend space commercialization due to financial reasons. Vague expectations and dreams for the future are not enough to justify government funding to continue space activities further.

2. Background

It was unfortunate for International Space Year (1992) that two major rocket development projects, H-II and M-V were both delayed, and consequently all satellite projects depending on these vehicles had to be postponed. These facts seemed to give evidence of some difficulty that Japanese space activities faced after catching up quickly with advanced nations in the past.

However, the general characteristics of these troubles that caused the delays are technical and happened to take place coincidentally. Thus, the present situation of Japanese space technology development is considered to be favorable in the long term. What is more to be concerned about is the lack of a global perspective of space development, and the loss of power to steer the general direction of space activities.

The space programs of the Soviet Union and United States were planned and implemented as scientific and military projects for national prestige, and related technology development has been the responsibility of government agencies. This pattern of organization also generally prevails in other nations. As a result, space technology has been developed in order to send men to the moon and to explore the entire solar system with scientific probes. The future of this achievement would be followed by a manned Mars flight in the near future.

As seen in the past examples of the aircraft and electronics industries, it is important that such advanced technology should be transferred to civilian sectors as soon as possible, so that industry can commercialize it for civilian space projects. In the sixties in the United States, commercial utilization of space was widely discussed as an opportunity for the post-Apollo space effort. However, among various fields considered, including space factories and space tourism, only communication and broadcasting satellites have been commercialized, and these are limited to the information industry, although such public-use satellites as navigational, meteorological and earth-observation satellites are also included in this category. Accordingly, it is believed that only the information industry can afford the high price of launching satellites.

The current trend of commercial rocket development in the world focuses on competitiveness within a narrow price difference between organizations to meet the demand of the existing satellites business, which increases cost-effectiveness by increasing the capacity and performance of each satellite without increasing the mass, by using high technology. This sort of effort to develop satellite technology would not increase the demand of space transportation but is effective to miniaturize the payload. Such a relation between the present-day rocket and satellite businesses excludes future progress of general space activities due to the high price policy.

3. Perspective of Rocket Research

The Japanese Rocket Society was founded by the Japanese rocket pioneers in 1956 to conduct an experimental study of rockoons for sounding the high altitude atmosphere. With advances in space technology and science, its activities have expanded to a broad extent to cover related subjects. At present, thirty-five years after the first artificial satellite Sputnik, we are now facing a new age of rocket research for the next century, while the future of satellite communication is investigated by the concerned business community.

Thus, we would like to focus our effort on the rocket vehicles to be used in connection with future space programs. As discussed above, one direction of research should be a realistic approach to low cost space transportation with special emphasis on practical aspects to meet the potential demands of prospective commercial customers. The other direction of research is the extension of past rocket research that pursued the highest performance in terms of delta V at the sacrifice of economic performance. This type of rocket will be necessary for development of the new space frontier such as Mars and the Moon, and will be featured by government procurement.

The exploration of the space frontier will be funded and managed by governments, which prefer dedicated mission planning including rocket vehicles. Thus, we will choose the low cost and mass transportation to space for public use as our study subject. Space industrialization involving solar power satellites and space factories, and space tourism represent prospective customers of this type of transportation system.

From the standpoint of rocket design, space tourism will give stricter but more definite targets of development than space industrialization, because space tourism is featured by manned spaceflight, while the main payloads of space industrialization would be cargo which can not be well defined at this time. As shown by the history of aircraft design, most cargo vehicles have been modified versions of passenger vehicles. Accordingly, passenger rockets are likely to be converted to carry cargo for space industrialization. This is the reason for this committee to choose rocket research for space tourism. We will now study the future of space vehicles in the context of space tourism.

4. Space tourism study

Space tourism has long been a dream of many people. Probably they would be willing to pay for the dream, if it became reality. This is the fundamental demand that could provide the tourism industry with a much greater market than conventional space projects. To meet the demand, we have to solve complicated problems of different disciplines interacting with each other. Following are four disciplinary approaches proposed for space tourism.

4.1. Medical assurance of spaceflight for the general public.

At present, selection of astronaut candidates is based on medical standards for aircraft pilots, so that the requirements are very strict. Is it necessary for tourist passengers to satisfy the same standards ? If not, a more difficult design standard than the present one will be applied to rocket vehicles to accept the looser medical standard for passengers. It is suggested that machines used for attractions in playlands should be referred to indicate acceptable levels of acceleration and motion for space vehicles. The length of a space flight may also be an important factor in defining the early space travel.

4.2. Space tourism should be a commercial activity based on a sound demand and supply relationship.

Experienced business practice will be required to start this business. We should learn from the failure of the first space travel project planned by Space Expeditions with the Phoenix rocket. An orbital hotel has also been conceptualized to offer a variety of services to space tourists, but it cannot be operated alone. If a project plan is practical and definite in respect of not only the technical but also the business point of view, it will interest prospective investors, who would respond by suggesting what else is required. It is most desirable that some business group should join this study, probably indirectly if they are serious about it.

4.3. Standards of transportation systems.

Rocket vehicles to be used for space tourism should be designed as transportation systems. This is the main difference of these vehicles from conventional space launch vehicles which are basically designed and operated as ammunition systems. To specify the new characteristics, design and operation standards of transportation systems for space will be required. To simplify the study guideline, the transporters will operate only single stage vehicles, which will be called passenger vehicles here. Such procedures as testing payloads before flight, and use of explosives for routine operations should be precluded from vehicle design. Some precursors like DC-X and Phoenix can be considered as reference systems.

4.4. Passenger services should be studied in more practical detail.

Experience of weightless condition and earth observation will be the main purposes of space tourism. The pleasure of space tours will depend on how passengers can enjoy these two features presented by each passenger vehicle and its flight plan. It is desirable to prepare candidate packages of travel plans and passenger services at various levels of provision.

5. Guideline 1: Phasing

It is important for such a study to be practical as well as to be fantastic enough to attract people who are interested in the space dream. For this purpose and to avoid misunderstandings between the different disciplinary groups, the following guideline is prepared, which specifies the phases of evolution of space tourism.

Phase 0: Suborbital flight

In this phase, passengers will make a suborbital flight for several tens of minutes. The vehicles will not need to orbit the earth, so the performance requirements will be moderate. However, the services will not be very satisfactory compared with orbital flight. The operational complexity of the vehicles will not be much different from orbital flight, except for taking off and landing within a special range.

Phase 1: Minimum space tour in orbit.

The minimum orbital flight is to circle the earth one time and land at the launch site, as Gagarin made the first manned spaceflight in 1961. The vehicles to be used here are required to have higher performance than ones used for Phase 0. Once a vehicle acquires orbital velocity, it can continue easily to orbit a few more times. Constraints on increasing the time period in orbit will be the physical condition of passengers and the condition of landing at the launch site when it returns to the earth. For example, a two-orbit flight of 3 hours will be a reference trip mode.

Phase 2: 24 hours in space

Considering that in past cases, space sickness did not grow serious in the first 24 hours, and revisiting the favorable condition for landing at the launch site, 24 hours-in-space travel will be the next longer phase. In this phase, the vehicles will need to be provided with facilities for meals and toilets. Larger size of windows and cabin space will be required for accommodation of passengers for longer periods in space. Emergency return capability will have to be considered in the flight plan.

Phase 3: Longer stay in space

It was reported that most astronauts recovered from space sickness after staying for a week in space, and could work more comfortably later. If this is also for space tourists, there is a possibility to stay longer to fully enjoy spaceflight. In this case, the vehicles will be used for transportation only, and hotel accommodation will be necessary.

It is suggested here to use Phase 1 as the reference tour for this study. Thus, the following scenario of a complete tour cycle can be assumed as a baseline.

6. Guideline 2: A basic tour model

The basic idea of this tour model is a group tour, for which four procedural items are given:

Call for participation;

  1. Basically tourists join a group tour which includes a spaceflight.
  2. One tour group corresponds to the passengers for one space flight.
  3. A caution about health requirements similar to that given at attractions in playlands will be announced.

General tour;

  1. Each group tour includes travel to the launch site.
  2. If will be desirable for launch sites or spaceports to be attached to major playlands where the attraction facilities can be used to check health condition, and especially the endurance of each passenger for spaceflight.
  3. Only those satisfying the health conditions will be qualified to join the spaceflight.


  1. Spaceflight should be considered to be one attraction of the playland.
  2. Boarding procedure should be similar to that of airline services.
  3. Flight frequency should be two flights in a day.
  4. Lift-off and landing will be one of the events of the playland.

Fare rule;

  1. Total price of the tour will include spaceflight fare
  2. Tourists who are found to be unqualified will be refunded for cancellation of their spaceflights.
A plan of passenger seat arrangement for space vehicles to be used for space tour. (Prepared for the JRS Space Tourism Study Conference by Kawasaki Heavy Industry Ltd.)
7. Study Approach and Organizations
Study will be conducted independently by the four specialized fields, according to the guideline shown above. Study objectives of the first phase will be as follows for each specialized field.
Space Medicine:

To make suggestions on the medical requirements for vehicle design required for space tourism, and for passenger handling procedures.

Business Opportunity:

To develop preliminary information and data which are expected to be requested by prospective business organizations. For example;

  1. To show typical relations between performance characteristics of candidate carrier vehicles and required investments, and
  2. To participate in market research activities to be conducted by interested organizations.

To materialize candidate vehicles from technical standpoints such as:

  1. Investigation of available data on candidate vehicles,
  2. Identification of functional requirements, transportation design requirements and operation standards,
  3. Conceptual design of reference vehicles, and
  4. Identification of interactive requirements with other specialized fields.
Passenger Service :

To clarify sales points of space tourism, and design requirements for passenger vehicles, such as:

  1. Define pleasures of spaceflight,
  2. Estimation of satisfaction of passengers with progress of the Phasing of space tours,
  3. Impacts of tour purposes on vehicles' design, and
  4. Development of scenario of the first phase "group package tour".

The Japanese Rocket Society can support this study only partially, focusing on the transportation field. For this purpose, it has set up a reseach committee dedicated to study Transportation. The committee members will be from JRS corporate members on a voluntary basis. The chairman will be Mr. Koki ISOZAKI of Kawasaki Heavy Industry Ltd. The committee is planning to issue its first report by the end of fiscal 1993, that is, March 1994.

Study groups of other specialized fields are expected to build up with progress of the Transpotation committee's activities. Tentatively, Prof. Genyo MITARAI and Dr. Patrick Collins will be contact points for the fields of Space Medicine and Passenger Service, respectively. JRS encourages the members to work together with other societies and organizations.

    JRS Academic Committee, April 1993, "Space Tourism Study Program", JRS (in Japanese)
M Nagatomo, 1993, "On JRS Space Tourism Study Program", Journal of Space Technology and Science: Special Issue on Space Tourism, Vol 9, No 1, pp 3-7..
Also downloadable from jrs space tourism study program.shtml

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