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Origin:IAF paper no IAA-86-446

Abstract - Scenarios that involve high rates of launch traffic offer the possibility of bringing about major reductions in the cost of space transportation and hence of greatly facilitating the expansion of human activities in space. One scenario that has received little serious attention to date is the development of space tourism (i.e. the provision of pleasure trips in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to fare-paying passengers) into a major industry. This paper investigates the feasibility of this idea. First, the range of entertainments that could be provided in Earth-orbiting facilities is discussed, and shown to be extensive. A survey is made of published estimates of the expected demand for space tourism at different prices. and an attempt is made to quantify the overall potential. Second. the feasibility of providing the required services at the prices estimated to be acceptable is examined. Two particular levels of activity are assumed, and the scope for cost reductions through economies of scale and appropriate design are considered. It is argued that space tourism has the potential to provide a commercial justification for the development of fully reusable launch vehicles with low operating-costs.

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