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16 July 2012
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.
9 December 2010
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7 December 2008
"What the Growth of a Space Tourism Industry Could Contribute to Employment, Economic Growth, Environmental Protection, Education, Culture and World Peace" is now the top entry on Space Future's Key Documents list.
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T Rogers, 24 May 2000, "Space Tourism - Its Importance, Its History, and a Recent Extraordinary Development", . A talk given on 24 May 2000, at the banquet of the 13th International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) "Humans In Space" Symposium, co-sponsored by the Greek Aerospace Medical Association and Space Research, held in Santorini, Greece..
Also downloadable from tourism its importance its history and a recent extraordinary development.shtml

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Space Tourism - Its Importance, Its History, and a Recent Extraordinary Development
T F Rogers

In his Monday presentation, author and television program leader Patrick Moore referred to the early Greeks and their influence upon the development of astronomy.

And on today's astronaut-cosmonaut panel, astronaut Joe Allen also mentioned the early Greeks.

In similar fashion, let me commence by reading a few sentences from the 1999 edition of "A World History", by William H. McNeill (Oxford University Press; pages 137-8.)

"The Classical Age"

"...for a period of almost fifty years, from the time of Xerxes' great disaster in 480-79 B.C. until the outbreak of the Peloponnesian war in 431 B.C., ... the Greek world ... experienced a golden age which was concentrated in time and space and more perfect in expression than any comparable period of human history."

"After their surprising success against the imperial majesty of Persia, the Greeks came to feel extraordinary confidence in themselves and in their way of life ... and [became] eager to explore the world within and about them."

"[They] found themselves able to combine thought and action in such a way that each supported and urged the other onward."

"[They] were proud of their past, committed to the present, and eager to explore anything new in their future."

Today's space-interested Greek professionals must take pride in their heritage. And they should see that the world's polis' are enabled to derive great benefit from the conduct of future space activities.

Dr. Chrysoula Papadeli, Judge Lazaros Papadelis, Dr. Joan Vernikos, and Mr. Andonis Kyparos (my Santorini hero) and all of their colleagues who share in this heritage, and who have made this week's Symposium a truly fine one for its participants, are certainly to be complimented. And they must know that they have our heartfelt admiration and thanks.

Among many others, two things mentioned during the Symposium come to my mind that prompt me to make brief comments: a., non-Earthly beings; and b., Mars.

  1. I trust that we are all agreed upon one fundamental aspect of "space tourism", i.e., that it is concerned only with people who live on Earth who will take trips to/from space -- not beings from elsewhere in the universe who might take trips to visit the Earth!

    In this regard let me read to you a one sentence letter-to-the-editor that I read on my flight to Athens; it appears in the present issue of the National Geographic Magazine: " The best evidence [that we have] of intelligent life out there [in the universe] is that none of them have contacted us."

    As one of my granddaughters might have said: "You've got that right, Jack!"

  2. In the early 1970s I was a member of the NASA Space Program Advisory Committee, the SPAC (now the NASA Advisory Committee, the NAC).

    We held one meeting just after the Viking probe had landed on Mars. Some of the first photographs that it had taken were rushed to our meeting. I shall never forget seeing some of the probe's legs thrust out onto the Martian surface, the redness of that surface, the rocks strewn about thereon, the blackness of the sky, ....

    At the SPAC's next meeting, several month's later, Dr. John Naugle, the then NASA Chief Scientist, reported to us, glumly, that the scientific instruments on the probe had not detected any signs of life. And we were all disappointed and reflective.

    Later, I stepped aside with John and observed to him that perhaps we were looking for signs of life in too restricted a fashion. I said that I had a very modest background in archaeology, and I wondered if, perhaps, Martian life could have developed to a much more advanced level than that of the microbes that the probe was searching for. For, it seemed to me that some of the rocks might have been shaped into "hand axes" by Martian beings, similar to those fashioned by our pre-historic Stone Age ancestors and found by archaeologists in Africa. (I had found some there, in Egypt.)

    John was taken aback at the enormous implications of my observation. And he soon expressed himself as taking a very dim view of it. Very!

    But, a few weeks later I received a telephone call from the head of a University archaeology department who inquired about my suggestion to John, for the caller had been asked by NASA to give it professional consideration.

    As I arrived at the next SPAC meeting a few months later, John and I saw each other from across the meeting room, and he immediately called out to me: "ROCKS , Rogers!", "ROCKS! JUST ROCKS!"

    So much for my contribution to our search for life on Mars.


There are four fundamental reasons why it is important that "space tourism" become a large and dynamic space activity:

  1. As An End In Itself

    It has the potential to become a large and continually growing space business area -- one greater in size than the space-related information areas of communications, navigation, position-fixing, remote sensing, ... .

  2. As A Means To Achieving Other Space Ends

    Serving such a large market would see space vehicle production and operating unit costs, i.e., dollars per pound or per person, and in-space human habitation unit costs, driven down by orders of magnitude

    The Federal taxes that would be generated by a new business with a multi-$10 billion per year revenue stream would be appreciated as financing a large part of our civil space program.

    And having large numbers of our people personally and directly involved in space would result in greater constituent support for our Federal civil space program, and would give rise to new ideas about what to do in space and how to go about doing them.

  3. As A Facilitator Of Other Space Activities

    Achieving the technological and operational advances required to serve this large new market effectively and efficiently would ease and prompt the inauguration of such large new activities/programs as space solar power, space sports, increased in-space research (especially in the human aging-related life sciences) and human solar system exploration and settlement.

  4. As A Clear Expression Of Our Society's Character

    The United States of America and other democratic countries are composed of egalitarian societies. Therefore, whatever else we do in space -- whatever else we do! -- we should see the Earth's space begin to be opened up to all of our general publics.

    That is, we must enlarge our civil space program's today's emphasis upon "bringing space to the people" by emphasizing, as well: "bringing our people to space".


Of course, in the nature of things, others will see matters differently, and would refer to other studies and activities. But my time is limited, and so I have chosen the ones that I have been involved in personally and/or that have left the greatest impression on me.

Mid 1960s

In his talk on Sunday, astronaut Joe Allen noted that, in 1965, he visited Santorini. At that time I was in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, overseeing the creation of the world's first global satellite communications system -- a system needed to improve our ability to command and control our strategic military forces.

During a discussion thereof, and about the then Mercury-Gemini-Apollo space era generally, with Herman Kahn of the Rand Corporation, one of our leading nuclear war strategic thinkers, we found ourselves agreeing upon two things:

  1. We would not live to see the end of the cold war; but

  2. When it did end, the military and civil space technologies then being developed would be used, among other things, to allow our general public to begin to follow astronauts and cosmonauts into space.

    As to 1., WRONG!, and

    As to 2., WRONG! also.

This is the first time that I heard and used the expression "space tourism".

While, over the next several years I spoke about it with others privately, I found myself involved in other matters and did nothing about it.


During this time I directed the Space Station study for the U.S. Congress at its Office of Technology Assessment (OTA).

Upon reading a near final draft of the study's report, some Senators raised the question: "What if we do not move to acquire a Space Station -- what else could our Country do in space?"

In response, a new section was added to the report that spoke to such possibilities. Among the other things suggested were that (a) using the absence of the local force of gravity in low-Earth-orbit ( LEO), we could mount a large life sciences research program to investigate the diseases and disabilities of older people, and that (b) we could see general public "space tourism" services become available.

As to the latter, the final report noted that:

"Only when a large number of our citizens, representative of a broad cross- section of our society, begin to experience the "space adventure" directly, will the space domain and space activities gradually begin to move into the mainstream of our [non national security] interests and concern." [1]


The Shuttle Challenger disaster took place, with the deaths of six astronauts and schoolteacher passenger, Christa McAuliffe. This grim tragedy grounded our Shuttle fleet and our astronaut corps for over two and a half years. And it introduced a strong note of caution into human spaceflight activities that, understandably, persists today even though the safety of Shuttle operations has been greatly improved.


I began to speak out about the "space tourism" concept. But, for several reasons,including the continuing pall of the Shuttle disaster, I found it impossible to convince people in either NASA or our aerospace industry that they should pursue its realization. Indeed, I found it impossible to have "space tourism" articles published and nearly impossible to speak formally and publicly on the subject.

I made the acquaintance of David Ashford of Bristol, England, a former British Aerospace Co. space engineer, and his colleague, Dr. Patrick Collins, a professor of economics at Imperial College in the University of London, both of whom also had a keen interest in seeing "space tourism" become a reality.

We agreed that they could take the initiative in writing professional papers on the subject for European publication. They did so, and even had a book on the subject published. [2]

T. C. Schwartz, the head of Society Expeditions, a tourism company in Seattle,Washington in the U.S.A. that specialized in offering trips throughout the world, oftentimes to unusual and/or remote locations, worked to form a "space tourism"business, but found the effort to be premature.

1990 (approx.)

Patrick Collins set out to Japan on a sabbatical to work with Professor Nagatomo on the study of Space Solar Power. When there he spoke of "space tourism", and many Japanese professionals soon became interested in its prospects also.


The Space Transportation Association (STA) was formed.


Reflecting upon the Department of Defense's encouraging experience with the DC-X test vehicle, STA prompted NASA to consider the development of fully reusable, surface- LEO, space transportation vehicles in order to obtain the much greater safety, reliability and turn-around times, and the much lower unit cost, required for inaugurating many space activities, including "space tourism".


The Japanese Rocket Society published an issue of its Journal especially devoted to"space tourism". [3]


The Japanese Rocket Society published a second "space tourism" issue. [4]

These two volumes laid a solid professional basis for further government, professional and business consideration of "space tourism".

I wrote a paper that summarized the Japanese professional "space tourism" studies, and circulated it among senior space-interested offices in the U.S.A Federal government and aerospace industry. [5]

"Space tourism" was studied as one subject in a NASA encouraged U.S.A. aerospace company market estimation study. [6]


NASA and two aerospace companies commit themselves to engage in two cost-sharing programs to design, fabricate and demonstrate fully reusable surface- LEO technologies and vehicles -- the X-33 program with Lockheed-Martin, and the X-34 program with Orbital Sciences.

A formal agreement is reached by NASA and STA to make a broad, cooperative, cost-shared study of "space tourism"-- one to involve a several day "workshop" involving aerospace, life science, tourism, aviation and financial interests.


The first report of the cooperative NASA-STA "space tourism" study is published. [7]


The second report of the cooperative NASA-STA "space tourism" study is published. [8]

Two papers are published that study the long-term "space tourism" business prospects based upon all of the information available. [9] [10]

During the cooperative study an important discovery was made. (All discoveries, when made, are seemingly seen to be obvious.) It was learned that there already is a large and continuing "space tourism" market -- it is all terrestrial: some 12 million people per year visit our Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., the Kennedy Space Centerin Florida, the Johnson Space Center in Texas, and various space camps and conventions. And 2 million visit Space World in Japan.

Also during the study, an independent market study of the size and character of the U.S.A. "space tourism", made by independent professional travel and market study professionals not connected with the space world, was made available to the study. It was found that over 40 million people from the U.S.A. alone would like to take a trip on the Shuttle, and some 55 million would like to take a cruise ship-like space trip. And, in total, they would be willing to pay some $ 900 billion to do so, i.e., some $ 40 billion per year.

Recent market studies have also been conducted at the German Aerospace Center, as was reported here by Dr. Michael Reichert on Monday.


The Space Transportation Association has formed a Space Travel and Tourism Division.

The first international "space tourism" meeting has been held in Bremen, Germany, in 1997.

A continuing series of such meetings will be conducted by the STA Space Travel and Tourism Division. The first was held in 1999. The second will be held in Washington,D. C., on June 26, 2000, under the direction of the Head of the Division, Robert L. Haltermann. Please see the Internet site

The X-33 and X-34 programs are proceeding; but the former is experiencing serious technology development problems.

More than a half dozen small entrepreneurial companies are working on obtaining private sector financing for the development of fully reusable space transportation vehicles.

U.S.A. and Russian companies are offering the opportunity to people to fly in a high performance aircraft well up into the Earth's atmosphere where, with appropriate maneuvering, they can experience zero-g.

The U.S.A. "X-Prize Foundation" would not be surprised to see the first test trips of a new space transportation vehicle, designed to carry two people to the edge of space, take place within 2-3 years.

The President, in his FY2001 budget submission to the Congress for NASA, requested a $ multi-billion program designed to explore fully reusable space transportation vehicle technology beyond the X-33 and X-34 programs over the next five years, with the objective of reducing the related private sector financing risk in acquiring operational vehicles.

A U.S.A. company has been formed to design, fabricate, install and operate hotels in LEO.

Another U.S.A. company has joined with a Russian and a German company in announcing that they intend to design, fabricate and install a 4,000 cubic foot habitable volume on the International Space Station ( ISS). It will be installed on the Russian section of the ISS, and will be tended by a cosmonaut.

Another U.S.A. company, with a Russian company, has started an effort to keep the Russian Mir space station in orbit, and to modify it so that it can be used as a hotel and research laboratory.


Now, let me tell you a story that serves to introduce my final observations.

In the late 1960s I became the first director of Research and Technology in the Office of the Secretary of the then just created Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Secretary, Robert C. Weaver, was a professional public housing and urban leader from New York City -- a politically experienced and sensitive leader.

Bob Weaver and I could hardly have been any more different in our professional backgrounds. But we came to have a good working relationship, and became professional colleagues.

We continued our friendship after he left HUD and returned to New York. We consulted with each other on housing-related matters both before and after my wife and I had formed our family foundation, the Sophron Foundation.

In a conversation that we held a few years ago, when we were finished with the matter on hand he asked me what I was doing with the most of my time. By then I was deeply involved with the NASA-STA cooperative "space tourism" study and I told him "space matters". He asked why I was doing that, inasmuch as I knew so much about housing and urban matters and could be usefully engaged therein. I said that I was pursuing a specific goal that I judged to be of great importance to our Country -- opening up space to the general public.

He was interested in learning about that aspect of the space area and we talked about it for awhile. In time he asked how many Americans wanted to take a space trip. I answered "roughly, 50 million". He was impressed, and then asked "What is NASA doing about it?" I answered "except for one small study, essentially nothing."

There was a long silence, and he then asked, essentially "Are you saying to me that there is a Federal agency that has the opportunity to increase its constituency by up to 50 million people and it isn't doing anything about it?" I said that was so. Soon thereafter, we rang off.

Very early the next morning my telephone rang. It was Bob Weaver again. He said, essentially, "I couldn't sleep last night. I'm incredulous. Tell me again -- there's a Federal agency that has the opportunity to help see 50 million Americans obtain a service that they want and are willing to pay for -- and yet it is doing nothing to help develop such a service and, by so doing, build itself a large new constituency?"

I repeated, that was essentially the case. He said "Unbelievable! Well, I can understand your working on it -- let the housing go."

In speaking as a member of today's astronaut-cosmonaut panel, astronaut Bob Thirsk noted, by implication, the difference between a member of the public that is truly interested in space, as well as other things, and another that is not only interested but will explicitly support and, indeed, fight for a specific political position or program. The latter is a constituent.

While general public interest remains large, during the 1990s, the civil space program has seen a gradual decrease in its general public constituent support. Many do support the program, of course, including many who are financially supported, directly and/or indirectly, by it's $ 14 billion per year appropriations. But, by failing to appreciate the clear and important difference between "general interest" and "constituency", and taking specific steps to secure and enlarge the latter, the civil space program's purchasing power has decreased throughout most of the past decade, in total by some 25%.


During the last year or so, a growing number of senior space-related professionals, myself among them, began to reflect, seriously, upon whether or not NASA, by itself, can persuade itself, the Executive Office of the President, the Congress, our aerospace industry, our space-interested university community and our space-interested private sector generally to make the fundamental changes necessary to see our Country's interests continue to be well served in the human spaceflight area.

That is, well served in a world now markedly different from that of the previous four decades which saw the creation of this area of national activity -- different in basic economic, social and political terms, both nationally and internationally.

These reflections gradually led to serious, albeit informal, discussions which have focussed upon the Washington, D.C. area. They began to consider whether the broader interests and capabilities of the Federal government, generally, could be brought to bear upon modernizing the outlook and activities in the human spaceflight area so as, for instance, to see the potential for "space tourism" realized.

Less than two months ago a public statement was made by a senior Federal official in this regard -- a statement that has gone almost entirely unnoticed by the space world.

Here are some excerpts from this statement [underlining added here]:

"...we are rapidly moving into an era in which people other than astronauts and cosmonauts will routinely fly into space for recreational or leisure time activities. There are numerous programs underway, by both government and the private sector, to develop reusable launch vehicles that will fly over populated areas carrying commercial passengers as well as crew.

"As evidence of their commitment to commercial space, the President and Vice President are proposing to more than double funding for [a] commercial space transportation office."

The statement was made by Rodney E. Slater. It was made in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the annual meeting of the Space Foundation there, on April 4, 2000. The office referred to is located within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which is an agency of the Federal Department of Transportation.

Slater is the U.S.A. government's Secretary of Transportation, the person who speaks for the Executive Branch regarding Federal policy with respect to all transportation areas: highways, shipping, railroads, aviation and commercial space. He is one of fourteen Department Secretaries who report directly to the President -- not through the President's Science Advisor -- and oversees an annual budget of $55 billion, four times that of NASA.

To my knowledge, this is the first time that any senior Federal official, one who is in the President's Cabinet, has spoken publicly about "space tourism."

And done so in such forceful and positive terms -- a qualitative change in Federal government perspective on "space tourism".

In my judgement, twenty years from now this public declaration could be seen to have been as important a departure from our space past as was the decision to acquire a permanent Space Station in LEO. For "space tourism" is finally beginning to receive high and formal attention by the Federal government.

After a third of a century of growing professional consideration, again in my judgement, we may well have reached the end of the beginning, and are now poised to create a large, new, space activity involving the subject of this Symposium: "Humans In Space" -- an activity with simply enormous space-related promise.

I appreciate being given the opportunity to speak with you this evening. Thank you.

  1. Office of Technology Assessment, November 1984, " Civilian Space Stations And The U.S. Future In Space", Congress of the United States, Washington D.C., OTA-STI-241, page 118.
  2. David Ashford and Patrick Collins, 1990, "Your Spaceflight Manual: How you could be a tourist in space within twenty years", Simon and Schuster, Australia.
  3. Spring 1993, " Special Issue on Space Tourism", The Journal of Space Science and Technology -- a publication of the Japanese Rocket Society; vol. 9 no. 1; It contains eight papers devoted to "space tourism" in English.
  4. May 1994, "Commercial Space Transportation Study -- CSTS", Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed, Martin Marietta, McDonnell Douglas and Rockwell - Final Report; see, especially, page 205 et. seq.
  5. Autumn 1994, " Special Issue on Space Tourism Part Two"; The Journal of Space Technology and Science -- a publication of the Japanese Rocket Society, vol. 10 no. 2; It contains seven papers devoted to "space tourism" in English.
  6. T F Rogers, August 1994, " Space Tourism: The Perspective In Japan And Some Implications For The United States", unpublished.
  7. Daniel O'Neil, Ivan Bekey, John Mankins, Thomas Rogers and Eric Stallmer, March 1998, "General Public Space Travel and Tourism - Volume 1 Executive Summary", NP-1998-03-11-MSFC.
  8. Daniel O'Neil, Ivan Bekey, John Mankins, Thomas Rogers, Eric Stallmer and W Piland, February 1999, "General Public Space Travel and Tourism - Volume 2 Workshop Proceedings", NASA/CP-1999-209146.
  9. Ivan Bekey, 1999, "Economically Viable Public Space Travel", Space Energy and Transportation, Volume 4, Numbers 1 and 2.
  10. Patrick Collins, February 2000, "The Space Tourism Industry in 2030", Proceedings of the Space 2000 conference held by the American Society of Civil Engineers in Albuquerque, New Mexico; pages 594-603.
T Rogers, 24 May 2000, "Space Tourism - Its Importance, Its History, and a Recent Extraordinary Development", . A talk given on 24 May 2000, at the banquet of the 13th International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) "Humans In Space" Symposium, co-sponsored by the Greek Aerospace Medical Association and Space Research, held in Santorini, Greece..
Also downloadable from tourism its importance its history and a recent extraordinary development.shtml

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