6 December 2002
News - Tourism (Good)
Presidential Commission Supports Space Tourism
New opportunities in the 21st century
by Alan Breakstone
by Alan Breakstone

The Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry urges the
US government to support space tourism. The Commission says NASA can encourage
this by flying passengers on the Space Shuttle.

In its Final Report to the President of the United States, the Commission makes
a number of recommendations for strengthening America's aerospace industry,
including two strong statements for developing what it calls "public space
travel." As part of a "space imperative," the Commission calls on the US
Department of Defense, NASA, and industry to "open up new opportunities for
public space travel and commercial endeavors in the 21st century."

In its conclusions, the Commission's Final Report says that public space travel
"may constitute a viable marketplace in the future." According to the
Commission, public spaceflight "holds the potential for increasing launch
demand and improvements in space launch reliability and reusability."
Ultimately, public spaceflight would lead to "airline-like operations" in the
launch industry.

The Commission suggests that NASA could help encourage space tourism by flying
private citizens aboard the Space Shuttle.

One of the Commission's members was Dr. Buzz Aldrin, the Lunar Module Pilot of
Apollo 11 and a major supporter of space tourism. According to space activist
Derek Webber, "Buzz did a great job in getting [the space tourism language]
there at all, considering some of the difficulties he overcame in getting other
Commissioners to agree with him." As a result of Aldrin's prodding, a
Presidential commission has now strongly endorsed public space travel as an
important 21st Century business requiring government support.

John Spencer and Derek Webber contributed to this report.
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Alan Breakstone 6 December 2002
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