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Origin:IAF Congress paper No. IAA-99-IAA.1.3.03; also at www.spacefuture.com/ archive/collaboration_with_aviation_the_key_to_commercialisation_of_space_activities.shtml

The US government's Commercial Space Act of 1998 and commitment to commercialise the International Space Station's operations have changed the direction of space development in the post-cold-war world definitively. During 1998 also the feasibility and great economic potential of space travel by the general public was acknowledged in publications by NASA, AIAA and the Japanese Keidanren. However, crewed space activities are all taxpayer-funded, primarily for scientific research; they have involved only a few hundred people traveling to space to date; and those involved have no experience of commercial passenger service operations.

By contrast, aviation is a global industry, largely commercial, involving the range of activities from engineering design to marketing, and serving more than 1 billion passengers/year. Aviation has very high safety levels developed over decades of experience of carrying billions of passengers. Furthermore, the aviation industry also has extensive experience of operating rocket-powered piloted vehicles: during the 1950s several countries operated such vehicles sufficiently frequently to develop routine operations, maintenance and repair procedures.

Consequently, in order to develop safe and profitable passenger travel services to, from and in space, people, companies and organisations with experience of space activities have a great deal to gain from collaboration with all parts of the aviation industry. Due to the potential economic value of this development, and the high cost to taxpayers of space activities today, governments should take steps to start this collaboration as soon as possible.

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