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|Origin:||The Aeronautical Journal, February 2007. Paper No. 3102. Manuscript received 31 May 2006, revised 24 October 2006 accepted 29 January 2007. This is the latest in a series of invited survey papers focusing on a specific aspect of the aerospace industry.|
|Abstract:||This paper assesses new commercial opportunities in space. The main conclusion is that spaceplanes can reduce the cost of human transport to orbit sufficiently for large new commercial markets to develop. Combining the reusability of spaceplanes with the high traffic levels of space tourism offers the prospect of a thousandfold reduction in the cost per seat to orbit. The result will be airline operations to orbit involving dozens of spaceplanes, each capable of one or two flights per day. These low costs will make possible a rapid expansion of space science and exploration.
The prototype of a small orbital spaceplane, needed to trigger this line of development, could be developed in about six years at a cost comparable to one or two flights of the Space Shuttle. It might be possible to progress from this prototype to airline operations within ten years, given a massive development effort.
|Keywords:||Tourism:Economics , Vehicles:Economics|