25 May 2002
Announcements - Tourism (Good)
Futron/Zogby Public Space Travel Poll
Space travel for those who can afford it
by Patrick Collins
Zogby/Futron/Nasa Market Study Confirms Space Tourism Popularity

Nine years after the first space tourism market research survey was performed in Japan by Space Future's Patrick Collins and colleagues, NASA funds have finally been used to pay a professional market research organisation to repeat the research in more detail--as Space Future has been pressing for forever.

A preliminary report will be published in mid-June and a Final Report next year, but Zogby has released the Press Release below.

The work takes a deliberately conservative position on all possible assumptions--price, risks, medical problems, etc, etc. But it still comes up with very promising numbers.

We will comment in more detail when more data is released, but one point in the press release is worth noting: "..a surprising 7% of those wealthy individuals polled said they would be willing to pay today's price tag of $20 million for the experience". This is not surprising--it's exactly what we learned in surveys in Japan, Canada, the United States, and Germany: up to about 10% of the population said they would pay one or more year's salary for a space trip. Of course we don't know if they really will...but clearly people are very keen to fly to space.

Zogby International
Date Released: Monday, May 20, 2002
Futron/Zogby Public Space Travel Poll:
Space travel is new exciting option for those who can afford it

A comprehensive and detailed study of interest in public space travel amongst affluent Americans indicates significant numbers would pay big bucks for the experience, a new poll by Zogby International reveals.

Commissioned by Futron Corporation, a Maryland-based aerospace consulting group, the poll was designed to measure level of interest in public space travel, the willingness to pay for specific space travel options, and an array of other relevant information concerning lifestyle choices, spending patterns and attitudes towards risk.

Zogby International conducted telephone interviews of 450 U.S. adults whose yearly incomes exceed $250,000 and/or net worth exceeds $1 million. All calls were made from Zogby

International headquarters in Utica, N.Y., from January 6 through January 27, 2002. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.7%. The survey participants were confined to those who could at least potentially afford the high prices of this leisure activity (which is expected to cost around $100,000 for the lowest cost package).

Results were obtained for sub-orbital flights, with the space tourists being rocketed 50 miles into space, at an assumed cost of $100,000, and experiencing much the same kind of 15-minute experience of exhilaration, weightlessness and seeing the Earth below, as did Alan Shepard, America's first astronaut. Up to 19% of those interviewed indicated that they would be likely to take part in such an experience when it becomes available to the public, assuming they could meet the medical and other requirements.

In the case of two-week orbital flights to an orbiting space station, a surprising 7% of those wealthy individuals polled said they would be willing to pay today's price tag of $20 million for the experience that so far only two space tourists, including Mark Shuttleworth who recently returned from orbit, have obtained. The figure approaches 16% if prices come down to a "mere" $5 million a ride.

Futron Corporation points out that only a small proportion of even these wealthy individuals can actually afford orbital flights at today's prices, and furthermore, space tourists would have to meet the medical requirements for the few seats available today. The only current destination is the International Space Station which is crewed by working astronauts; a near majority (48%) of respondents say the possible existence of a new commercial facility specifically designed for space tourists would make them more likely to take an orbital trip, while many (61 %) would prefer to have the opportunity to be trained and fly from the US, rather than having to do so in Russia, which is the only option today.

Other data in the survey, which will be used by Futron Corporation in developing market forecasts for public space travel, includes reasons for wanting to go into space, attitudes to risk, availability of time for space flight training, price elasticity of demand information, and vacation and lifestyle characteristics of the surveyed group.

Derek Webber, Program Manager at Futron Corporation, said: "We are very satisfied with the survey. This has been a thorough piece of quality research conducted for us by Zogby International. For the first time we have a sound, statistically valid basis for market predictions regarding public space travel. The work has been based on carefully described missions, fully informed respondents, realistic prices and the buying patterns of wealthy individuals. We are still analyzing the wealth of detailed information contained in the survey responses, but are certain that the findings will be of significant benefit to those entrepreneurs and space industry professionals [laying] the groundwork for the coming space tourism business."
Share |
Patrick Collins 25 May 2002
Please send comments, critiques and queries to feedback@spacefuture.com.
All material copyright Space Future Consulting except as noted.