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Space Future has been on something of a hiatus of late. With the concept of Space Tourism steadily increasing in acceptance, and the advances of commercial space, much of our purpose could be said to be achieved. But this industry is still nascent, and there's much to do. this space.
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L David, R Citron, T Rogers & C D Walker, April 25-28, 1985, "The Space Tourist", AAS 85-771 to -774. Proceedings of the Fourth Annual L5 Space Development Conference held April 25-28, 1985, in Washington, D.C..
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The Space Tourist
Leonard David (*) (Moderator)
Charles D Walker (+)
Robert Citron (++)
Thomas F Rogers (**)
The day of passenger space travel is approaching, first to Low Earth Orbit and then to circumlunar distances. Details of the NASA citizen-in-space project are reviewed, along with a report on the Shuttle Passenger Module studied by a major travel agency. Passenger flight into Earth orbit, weekend stays in a globe-circling vacation spa, and eventual translunar excursions are considered in an evolutionary way.

Leonard David: I'd like to welcome you to the Space Tourism session of the Space Development Conference. It's a real pleasure to see so many active future passengers. I particularly wanted to find out, first of all, how many here would like to travel into space? Okay, there are a couple of people here on the panel that may be able to take reservations. Maybe we'll get to that a little later. One of my early interests was in space tourism. I'm the editor of Space World magazine, a publication of the National Space Society. About a year and a half ago I had the good fortune of trying to put together an item to be in Space World on space tourism. I was startled by what I saw: a number of people around the United States working full time in bringing the concept of space tourism together and making it real.

My first early look at space tourism was in a film that I'll never forget, called Destination Moon, in the late 1950's, which had a horrific sequence of several astronauts, blasting off going to the Moon, kicking and screaming their way into orbit, with blood coming from their lips as they reached escape velocity. It almost was a turning point in my life in the sense I wasn't quite sure that I'd really want to participate in space shuttle missions in the future. But one thing that's happened, and maybe one of the things I found out by seeking more on this topic was from the Mercury programs - the one-capsule space commuter operation that the United States put forward in the early 60's - it was that the astronauts took 8 g's on takeoff. In the shuttle, by comparison, you're only experiencing something like 3.4 g's and on reentry it's about one and a half g's. In fact, contemplate what Shuttle Astronaut Storey Musgrave said in a post-flight conference that, just for the fun of it, he stood Lip during reentry just to see if it could be done. It could be done, and it reminded me of something we did in college: many of us would go on roller-coaster rides and try to keep our arms up through the entire trip, 'Just to see if it could be done."

In putting together this article, I ran across a couple of interviews I had previously done, one with John Young after his mission in April of '81 with Columbia. I asked him, "What's space flight like in the shuttle?" He said, "Well, it's lots of fun, like swimming underwater," and "If we ever get a restaurant up there with a window, someone's going to make a lot of money!" And Gordon Fullerton had this comment on the STS-3 mission: "If zero-gravity looks like fun, I assure you it's ten times more fun than it looks like it is," and "Looking at the Earth is fascinating. I could easily have spent the entire eight days just looking out the window."

Well, is the public interested in space? In the late 1960's Pan Am offered a waiting list for eventual Moon flights, sort of a P.R. gimmick, but one that resulted in some 90,000 reservations until the listing was closed down in March of '71. As many of you heard last night, Jack Schmitt brought up some good points: The number of applicants is rising each year when NASA releases its call for new astronauts. Another indicator here is NASA's project, "Space Teacher," which has resulted in over ten thousand applications with only one slot available. What we have here is a quest for a little escape velocity. And I think what we have tried to put together today as a panel are three individuals who have had an opportunity to help forge the future of space tourism. One person has actually participated in it. I think an intellectual gravity escape that's happening here as well, and I think the future of tourism is not that far off from our own manifest for tomorrow. I can envision people saying, "I just got back from Rio," and I can imagine in the future we'll hear people saying, "I just got back from LEO," or "I just got back from GEO."

So with this I'd like to introduce our panel. On your right, the last individual on my left is Dr. Tom Rogers. His escape velocity today was probably about forty or fifty miles an hour: He got here in a car. Bob Citron had some escape velocity of about 700 miles an hour, a couple of days ago, arriving from Florida. And of course Charlie Walker had about 17,000 miles an hour around the Earth, and was able to visit with us at this conference. So with this, I would like to introduce our first speaker, Charlie Walker, who as you all know, is now giving pilot lessons to John Young, because he will be going up again in a couple more months. This will be his third flight with 41-D and the recent 51-E behind him. Charlie, as you know, is a chief test engineer for McDonnell Douglas, and works on the electrophoresis project. But specifically why we asked Charlie to participate was to give us an impression, from someone who's actually been there, of what it's like and what we're really going to sense when we participate in space travel in the future.

Charles D Walker: This afternoon I hope to begin to give you the expectation for yourselves of the real experience. I am on this panel because I believe what we are talking about is without a doubt going to happen. As in all things in this imperfect world of ours it is only a matter of political will and economic realities, and what we - you and I and all of us - the people in this country, at least, are willing to support and encourage and see done. Space tourism, passengers flying from the Earth's surface to at least Earth orbit to start with, will happen and will be available to anyone who can afford it. And as we all know, when things of a unique vein are first made available, certainly in a a free-world economy, it's expensive to begin with, but the more that it happens, the more people take advantage of it. The economics of scale comes into play, and we'll be talking about this later. I know some folks will have words to say about the economics. It will become available to virtually anybody who has the wherewithal and the money to put into it.

Really what I want to say is that space, as we at this 1-5 conference know all too well, is a place. But it is not only a place, it is an experience. And it is an all-encom- passing physical and psychological experience. And that has to be borne in mind when we talk about passengers, tourism in space, when we talk about a large, widespread representation of humanity taking that opportunity to leave the Earth's's surface. Now this statement of fact has a lot of significance to the topic at hand: space tourism. I want to use some 35mm slides; they are rather important in visualizing what it is we are talking about. I do want everybody to see these. Again, the ex- perience, and just trying to relate the experience, are very important in conveying what we're talking about. Now I want you all to have as good a feel is possible with this poor technological, two-dimensional, flat images to represent an awesome experience.

Well this is how it starts. This is raw power unleashed in magnitudes that are rarely seen in a controlled fashion in our culture, in our technological society. It's necessary to use the enormous energy of the solid rockets, this controlled explosion I of energy, to hurl human flesh and souls into space (Fig. 1). It takes an enormous amount of energy to do it, and therein lies the basis for the economics of what it is we are going to be talking about. But it is one visual and palpable experience that overwhelms. I just can't imagine what else can be more awesome to a thinking, conscious person than riding one of these things into Earth orbit. It's the biggest, fastest, elevator ride you can ever imagine. 'Ibis is how it begins.

Once in space (again a two-dimensional, poor, graven image representation) you see a small man-made, artificial, artificially-controlled environment in the rawvacuum, high-energy environment of space, circling the globe of our origin (Fig. 2). Of some significance here, I think, and again, poorly represented but conceptually visible here, is a small spacecraft, only a small fraction of which contains the crew members, sustained by only a very small amount of air and food for a limited period of time. You can see only a small fraction of this enormous orb that we leave. And on the horizon, with your finger at arm's length in this picture - and it's virtually the same thing in space flight - you can, with your finger, cover the thickness of the atmosphere: all that sustains us on the surface of the Earth in terms of breathing air, in terms of climate. One very real, but very necessary element to keeping us alive, and yet out there it is just a small, minuscule fraction of what you see in the reality around you. (Aside to Bob Citron) Bob, are you taking this down? It sounds good for a prospectus, doesn't it? But it is real. It's not just hype. Believe me, it's real. This is what it's like when you're out there.

Now when tourists start going places, of course one of the first things you do is to take pictures of your mates. You take pictures of everybody that is on board the ship, or on board the airplane, or in the expedition, or on board the space shuttle. Here's a picture of the last crew that flew (Fig. 3). We came back about nine days ago, from a seven-day flight. You have to take pictures of yourselves while you're there just so you can remember it, and put in the photo album. Everybody will be taking pictures. This happens today; it has always happened. I think probably even Mercury astronauts put the camera out in front of themselves: and took a picture of themselves: there wasn't anybody there to hold the camera for them.

What else will people see as a basic requirement, a basic need in space tourism? There are really two major aspects as I see it: viewing the scenery, that's what we're doing here. This is the Great Barrier Reef off Australia, and again this poor graven image does not begin to relate the awesome impact of the scene (Fig. 4). In Low Earth Orbit, it passes by beneath you at five miles a second. A scene could come into view from one of the Orbiter's overhead windows, which is really a pretty scenic window. It's about twenty-four inches square - there are two of them, in the overhead of the flight deck. This scene could come into view and disappear again within 45 seconds. The world passes by very quickly, but the world has infinite variety to it. This poor image just reflects some of the colors and hues, and a very little bit of the detail. As you know, here we sit on the surface of the Earth. You can go outside. There are trees; there are bushes; there are buildings; there is grass. There are minuscule objects that are perceptible to us, that encompass us. From 180 to 200 miles up you can't even see them. The scale is totally different. But yet if you use magnifying glasses, if you use binoculars, a telescope, and look down, you can begin to pick out buildings. You can begin to pick out roads. You can even pick out cars! It's awesome to look down from that altitude and see things that are real to you on that scale. You take your eye away from the eyepiece and there's the world again. Almost all the world curving away in front of you. It is an awesome experience, and this doesn't begin to show it in true depth and detail, but it gives you some idea.

In viewing the scenery, are there quick guesses as to what that is? Absolutely right, it's the Sinai (Fig. 5). Orbit from Kennedy Space Center in Florida takes you no higher north, nor further south than about twenty-eight and a half degrees latitude on a normal Earth orbit, one that NASA uses for maximum payload. That happens to be just about the latitude of Cairo. And so here we are, on this particular orbit, just a little south of Cairo, south of the Sinai, moving very quickly toward the Indian Ocean. But again, what you can see from space is sometimes not recognizable because you're only 180 to 200 miles up, or so. That's a long way away, or is it? I mean, how far is it from coast to coast in the United States? Several thousand miles. From Earth orbit, that low, all you can see, from the horizon to yourself, on board the space shuttle, is maybe 1200, 1300 miles. So you can't see the entire world. But yet parts of it are very distinguishable, very identifiable, and very significant. The Sinai has a lot of significance. The Middle East has a lot of significance to all of us. And it is, again, awesome to perceive it, not just in a geography book in front of you, but before your very eyes, the extent of a lot of early Eastern and Western culture - the place where that history took place.

In viewing the scenery the weather is always changing. I took this picture of a tropical storm that was just leaving the west coast of Australia, just about two weeks ago, now (Fig. 6). And shortly after this, within two days after this picture was taken, it disintegrated. It never did reach typhoon or hurricane status. But it is just fascinating to fly over this massive atmospheric disturbance.

In viewing the scenery, every 45 minutes there's a sunrise. Every 45 minutes subsequently, there's a sunset (Fig. 7). And they are all different. They may only take a few seconds, and I mean literally seconds. You are in total darkness on the night side, in the Earth's shadow. As you come toward the limb, as the Sun is about to move over the obscuring limb of the Earth, you'll be in total sunlight within five seconds. I mean you go from the first twinges of a ruddy glow to the most intense arc-] light that you can imagine in five seconds' time. But yet in those five seconds you see all the spectrum on the horizon. If you were to watch as the Sun is about to come up - and heaven forbid, don't keep your eyes on it as it peeks over the horizon - you will see detail in the atmosphere.

We had an astronomer on board this trip, Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman. Jeff used every minute he could spend watching sunrises and sunsets. He even had some diffraction gratings and some slit-screen spectrometers on board to look at the atmosphere, the limb, the sunrises and the sunsets. But visually he was looking at them. He counted once, to his eye, twenty-three discrete layers in the atmosphere. I mean you can look at detail in the atmosphere edge-on like this at sunrise and sunsets. He took pictures of those layerings. But on the film he can only count some twelve or fourteen layers. The best film we have doesn't even record what the eye can see. It's an awesome visual and physical experience.

But what else do we have to do in space? The other thing is experiencing weightlessness. Well, here's somebody listening to his favorite recorded music in the lower part of the picture, and Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman in the upper part of the picture. We're in the mid-deck, and what in one-g would be the floor of the orbiter is below us, in the lower part of the picture, in this reference (Fig. 8). And we've got strawberry juice floating in front of us, and we're trying to rendezvous two spherical globules of strawberry drink, just using air pressing them together. They both stuck, on separate walls of the spacecraft. I guess I could, right off the bat, list that as an objective problem for future space tourism. Don't let the tourists play with the fluids in the cabin, at least until they've become acclimated to zero-g for a while. You can have fun with basic physics. Things are very much different. The laws of physics all apply, except g: the acceleration of gravity is not there. And things that you read about in the textbooks, and that your physics teachers told you about, that you kind of ho-hummed, and only half heard and continued to doodle in the notebook or talked to the handsome guy or the pretty girl next to you, which just went over your head, are now realities. You can't ignore them! Liquid won't stay in a cup. You've got to contain it or be very careful with it if you let it float in the air in front of you, like this. It's a lot of fun to have. All liquids assume a sphere like that. If you undulate them or force them, they will change shape dynamically, but they'll all try to come back to a spherical form. It's kind of fun to have a free-floating sphere of juice in front of you like that and just put a straw into it, and then drink it down to nothing. It's a real experience.

There are other experiences, too, associated with the trip, that may not be appropriate for tourists, but then again, who knows? NASA thinks they would like to say that they are scheduling regular and planned shuttle missions. They'd like to say that but it doesn't always turn out that way. Case in point: the last shuttle mission. Five scheduled days in flight, deploying two satellites, some mid-deck experiments including the electrophoresis work that I did. Ongoing during the mission: some student experiments, taking pictures out the window, and coming home. The satellite didn't work! Hughes and NASA said, "Let's try to fix that thing. Let's figure out how we can do that. Let's rig up some quick tools. Let's send some crewmembers outside to put those tools on the remote manipulator mechanism, the arm. Let's then fly a few rendezvous orbits, catch up with that satellite again, try to swat at it with the tools, flick a switch that we think malfunctioned, and repair it." "Bo" Bobko, Colonel Karol Bobko was the commander on this flight. Bo said after the flight, "You know, if I knew when I launched that I'd only been trained for half of what I was going to do on this flight, I don't know that I would have gone."

Since instructions for the rendezvous were not a planned part of the mission, they weren't there. It was appropriate and necessary that ground mission control had to uplink by teleprinter all the rendezvous procedures. The crew had trained on rendezvous months before. They hadn't recently trained on rendezvous. They knew how to do it; that's why it came off so well. They are extremely disciplined, welltrained individuals, and even though they haven't done some things for a few months, they can do them very, very well. It's a real credit to NASA and to the astronaut corps. But the specific procedures had to be uplinked: feet and feet of teleprinter messages. It looked like a paper snake in the mid-deck when it came off the teleprinter. Bobko said that every morning, after the mission started going a little weird like this regarding EVA's rendezvous, that he'd go down to the teleprinter and all he could think of was, "doesn't this printer ever run out of paper?"

Using the teleprinted procedures and their experience the crew, in a day's time, adjusted orbit and found the satellite. I was just a passenger when we rendezvoused with the SYNCOM satellite. This is what it looked like from the front of the flight deck because the crew was rendezvousing from the aft end of the flight deck looking out over the open cargo bay of the shuttle (Fig. 9). The satellite, the SYNCOM you see there out the window, is about 20 feet above the cargo bay at this point. We got up to within 10 feet of it. And that thing is 14 feet in diameter and about 16 to 17 feet in length, so it's big: 14,000 lbs. and rotating. This is a picture of the way it I ooked to a passenger on this flight. Again, this is something that probably every crew is not going to perform, and most certainly not the kind of thing that tourism trips are going to see, at least not on a planned basis. But wouldn't it be neat if it happened now and then - a little more excitement for your buck?

But there are some other things in experiencing weightlessness. Weightlessness is an ever-present part of the environment. It is the environment that you're in, in the crew compartment, and you have to do everything in a weightless environment. I mean everything. You have to feed yourself in a weightless environment. So, let's talk about some of the basic needs that have to be satisfied in space. Well, there's got to be breathable atmosphere, and there's also got to be food and water. Those are kind of basic. Breathable atmosphere is easy to provide by electro-mechanical systems. We know how to do that efficiently. Tliat's not going to be a problem, not going to be an issue, with whatever system is used to launch and fly tourists in space. However, making a sandwich is another matter. In the middle of the screen, in my mouth, and in Jeff Hoffman's mouth, there are two pieces of bread. We are trying to assemble sandwiches (Fig. 10). You can see this brown, oblong item that's right over Jeff Hoffman, the middle of Jeff Hoffman's chest. That's a free-floating piece of bread for one of our sandwiches, we're not sure whose it is. And all the time we're trying to put the condiments on: the mustard and the mayonnaise and the ham slice, and it takes more than two hands to handle a whopper up there, I tell you. Some things you just aren't going to be able to do as you do on the ground. Food and water are basic needs. We can figure out ways to provide them. Even if you've got to eat out of squeeze tubes and plastic packages all the time, it can be done. That's not a problem, but it has to be accounted for.

Any guesses as to what this is? Basic needs: facilities for hygiene (Fig. 11). If you spend more than a few hours in this environment, then you've certainly got to plan on basic needs. And I'll tell you something else. It's not just if you spend more than a few hours. When those solid rockets light underneath of you, there are ways to handle that situation, and NASA sees that every crew member has the option to carry certain physical mechanisms and containers which you can attach to yourself that will accommodate that situation. Now, it's mainly due to the fact that they make you sit on the pad for two hours before a launch with your feet up in the air, so your fluid shift begins a lot sooner than eight minutes after launch, at main-engine cutoff. Everybody has to go to the bathroom by the time you launch. But it's going to happen. I mean people have to eliminate: you take food in and you pass food out. And it works differently in zero gravity. Not intending at all to be crude - and I beg your pardon if I do embarrass anybody - I won't go into detail here. The basic potty, the W.C.s, the waste collection system, or water closet system as it's also called, provides a basic need on board the space shuttle. It is one that is imperfect. Some of the techniques that it uses for capturing the solid and liquid waste are imperfect at this point, and it takes training to learn how to use it. It's going to have to be modified, it's going to have to be updated, there's work that has to be done here. There is a little technique called the "Conrad bounce." My apologies, Pete. (He works for my company now, for McDonnell Douglas.) There are various ways that you learn, almost by yourself, because there are not too many people around that want to delve into long, detailed dissertations and experiential happenings dealing with elimination in zero gravity. And besides, there are lessons with the equipment, there are procedures with one-g trainers. But I'll tell you what: it's a big step to the real lesson when you try to sit down on that thing. And again, remember you can't sit down. You may see, there are two bluish handles on either side of the lower middle part of the picture, there. Those are really thigh restraints. You pull them up and rotate them over, and they hold you down on the seat. But then you've got to grab the seat with both hands to make sure you're down on the seat. You know this may be the first time, outside of certain civil engineering classes, that this kind of thing has been talked about. But it's obviously quite necessary, and there is a way to go yet, not only engineering the equipment, but in training to allow people to perform these basic functions in zero gravity. And that's all I'll say about it. I'll just leave an image in your mind. And for most of you, maybe all of you I think, it will be a familiar image like the toilet instructions in Kubrick's and Clarke's movie 2001.

Question: Excuse me. What are the bags along the top of the picture? On the very top? They look like mailboxes.

Charles D Walker: Let me back off from that and start by saying that at the bottom middle-right of the picture there's a cone or fulcrum-shaped device: that's the urinal. There are cups that fit over the urinal, and there's one for each crew member. I mean you don't want to be using somebody else's urine cup, right? And every crew member has a color, and so those cups are stowed up there in that stowage bag, everybody with a different color.

The last thing I'd leave in your mind to indicate the kind of frustration that may, in fact, happen here, is Kubrick's movie 2001, along with Arthur Clarke, of course, the scene in which Floyd is on the way to the Moon, and has to go to the potty. There is Dr. Haywood Floyd scratching his head and rubbing his face as he worries over a list of zero-g toilet instructions that's that long and in small print.

We've got a way to go yet. There are some problems, but again, I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe that it will be practical, very possible, and most desirable to have happen. I have been there, and I don't mind saying, I know it's feasible and I would be more than happy to see every one of you get the opportunity to do it. And some time or another, that will happen. We just have to face the obvious technical, and psychological trials in order to make it happen. It will happen. Thank you.

Leonard David: Our next speaker is Bob Citron, and Bob is a good friend of both myself, and of National Space Society as a member. He's been involved with space development for nearly thirty years. In fact, it goes as far back as in the Smithsonian Institution's early program called "Moonwatch", when we wondered what those little moving specks in the sky - called satellites - were all about. He has also been involved in NASA's Skylab and Earth Resources Technology Satellite programs, and a host of other projects that have captivated Bob and he now finds himself on the forefront of looking at the ways and means of conducting passenger flight into space. In '82 and '83, as a consultant to Society Expeditions, he developed a concept called " Project Space Voyage" which plans to take passengers on three-day space expeditions by the mid-1990's. He's currently working on a new commercial space venture that involves both the space shuttle and the Space Station. I'd like to introduce to you Bob Citron.

Robert Citron: Thank you very much, Leonard. The title of my presentation is " Space Tourism Could Drive Space Development," and what I'm going to do is try to give you some idea about what we have to do before we can have routine space flights that take hundreds and later thousands and tens of thousands of tourists into space.

The origin and spread of man across the face of the planet during the past few million years has been nothing short of miraculous. There is evidence that Australopithecus, an intelligent, bipedal hominid emerged in Southern Africa three to four million years ago and migrated to central and East Africa during the next one to two million years. Homo Erectus, another hominid in our evolutionary past, probably emerged in Africa and then spread to the Middle East, and across Asia to Java and China during the past half-million years. Neanderthal Man, our direct ancestor, who became extinct over the past hundred-thousand years, has been found all over Africa and Europe, and has just recently been discovered to have lived in Soviet Asia. Man was a migrator. For several million years, half a dozen different species and subspecies of men and proto-men followed their food and water resources to survive. In some cases, they stayed put and adapted to changing environments, or died out. In other cases, they lived in increasingly harsh environments and had to leave them to find better conditions to survive. Those whose genes we now carry survived by being mobile. They migrated across what are now Europe, Africa, and Asia. And some 25,000 years ago they crossed the Bering land bridge from Asia into the New World. During the past 20,000 years, numerous peoples crossed large bodies of water to search for new places to live and to breed new generations.

Modern man now lives in nearly all possible habitat niches on our planet. In recent times, during the past 10,000 years, man has developed agriculture,which enabled him to store food, stay in one place, and develop villages, towns, cities and nations. And man's culture evolved explosively, because he now had time to think, to dream, to discover, and to explore, not only out of necessity, but as an intellectual exercise. Even though man now had enough food and water for sustenance, he did not stay in one place. He continued to explore the world around him. He began to search for the meaning of his own existence. He continued to explore the unknown, to reach out in quest for new lands, new horizons, new discoveries and new adventures. That search has taken him to every comer of our planet, only within the last few centuries. The names of recent explorers are legendary: Marco Polo, Columbus, Da Gama, Magellan, Cook, Lewis and Clark, Scott, Amundsen, Humboldt, Stanley, Speke, Burton, Heyerdahl. The list goes on.

In a sense these men were explorers, but they were also the world's first tourists. They excited the world with their writings of their travels, and, as soon as it was possible, others followed in their footsteps. First by sail, steamship, train, and foot and later by airplane and motorcar. When it becomes possible to travel to new areas, explorers lead the way, tourists follow. Today, as a tourist, you can follow in the footsteps of the world's great explorers. In fact, there are very few, if any, places on planet Earth that you can't go to that the great explorers visited in the last few centuries. You can follow Stanley searching for Livingstone on safari from Zanzibar to Ujiji on the banks of Lake Tanganyika. You can cruise across the South Pacific in the wake of Cook's Discovery and Thor Heyerdahl's Kon Tiki to visit Easter Island, Tahiti, Fiji, Samoa, and New Guinea. You can travel up the Amazon River to visit primitive Indian tribes. You can journey with Scott and Amundsen to the Antarctic. You can follow the path of Marco Polo, and journey across the silk route of China. You can even fly with Byrd to tour the North Pole, and circle Planet Earth a dozen times in two minutes. That's faster than the astronauts can do it!

Earth's tourism today is a $500 billion a year business. Projections by the Hudson Institute indicate that world tourism will become the single largest industry on Planet Earth by the end of this century, eclipsing energy and agriculture. Space tourism could drive space development. Getting hundreds, and later thousands, and tens of thousands of people into space every year will act as a tremendous catalyst for space development, and may, in fact, be the single largest contributor to space development and space commercialization during the next quarter century. Herman Kahn and William Brown stated in their 1977 study for NASA, called "Long Term Prospects for Developments in Space", that "Space tourism will become the single largest industry in space within the next century." They concluded in their study that virtually every human being, who is physically and psychologically able, will travel in space at least once in their lifetime during the next century.

Space tourism will begin in our lifetime. Space tours into Low Earth Orbit are probably only a decade or two away. Some of you in this audience will be amongst the world's first space tourists. At least one major American tour operator, Society Expeditions, has been developing for the past several years, a space tour concept that they call " Project Space Voyage," and hopes to operate the world's first space tourist flights by the mid-to-late 1990s. Their plans are based on the use of the shuttle, but if the shuttle proves inappropriate, or too expensive, they are looking at other options. Ed Swanstrom, longtime L5 member from Seattle, Washington, has just joined Society Expeditions to manage their " Project Space Voyage" program, and he is available after this session to answer any questions that you might have about their plans.

Today, approximately 45 million people per year worldwide travel on overseas trips out of a world population of 4.5 billion. That's about one percent of the world population. And the growth rate of international tourism is increasing three times faster than the world population growth rate. By the year 2020 the world population will be between seven and eight billion people. We estimate that about 200 million people a year will make international trips on this Earth, and that perhaps one million people each year will take space tours. We believe that about one out of every ten thousand people on Earth will travel into space each year by the end of the first quarter of the next century.

Figure 12

This viewgraph shows projections that we have made (Fig. 12). It's a log scale, and it shows, beginning at ten tourists a year in 1995, a hundred a year by the year 2000, a thousand a year by the year 2005, going up to some ten thousand a year by the year 2015, and perhaps as many as a hundred thousand a year by 2020. Tourists now spend an average of two months of their income on a typical remote-area tour. Current tours to the North Pole cost $10,000 per person for an eight-day trip. Tours to Antarctica average about $10,000 per person for a 12-day trip. Society Expeditions runs an around-the-world private luxury jet tour that costs $30,000 for a four-week tour that visits 13 countries, and there are some exotic tours on Planet Earth that cost $50,000 per person for a three or four-week tour. We believe that within the next fifteen to twenty years a three-day Earth-orbit space tour might cost $25,000 to $50,000 per person in 1985 dollars.



$5M 10 $50M
$1M 50 $50M
$500,000 100 $50M
$250,000 200 $50M
$100,000 500 $50M
$ 50,000 5,000$250M
$ 25,000 30,000$750M

Figure 13

This viewgraph gives you our estimate of what the market will be in the next 10 to 15 years for tourists on Earth going into space (Fig. 13). At $5 million per seat, ten a year, would give total revenues of $50 million a year. At $1 million a seat, perhaps 50 tourists a year, again the same number in revenue. And when you get down to $500,000, $250,000, even $100,000 a seat, your gross revenues for space tourism still are very modest. As soon as you drop that price to $50,000, and then down to $25,000 per seat, we're looking at taking significant numbers of people. Perhaps as many as 5,000 a year at $50,000 per seat cost. That may seem like a lot of people, but one company alone, Society Expeditions, takes that number of tourists every year, and there are over 2,000 tour operators that run programs to various countries in the world. When the cost gets down to around the $25,000 per seat level, the range could be 20,000 to 50,000 tourists per year, and then you'd have a really viable market that could even afford to do things like develop their own space passenger transportation systems, their own vehicles.

Figure 14

This just shows a projection from 1995 to the year 2020 (Fig. 14). You saw the straight-line log scale on the previous viewgraph, which shows the cost-per-seat at $1 million per seat, or about what you'd have to pay to fly in the shuttle if you built a passenger module to take tourists, down to using other specially built spacecraft for space tourism after the year 2000 bringing the price down to about $25,000 per seat after the first decade of the next century. If you get it down to those numbers, you can see we can carry ten thousand or even a hundred thousand people per year into space.

Based on the research that we have done, using a newly developed passenger vehicle that might come on line in 10 to 20 years, revenue from space tourism might be expected to grow from $50 million a year to $150 billion a year over a 35-year period, which sounds like a lot of money, except, as I said before, on Planet Earth today, the world tourism market is a $500 billion market. And this, 35 years from now would be a third of today's current market. But of course, by this time, global tourism will be in a number of trillions of dollars per year, and we're talking about space tourism only being a small fraction of that.

What about the use of the space shuttle for space tourists? I just might say that we've had a very hard look at the space shuttle, and, as you'll see in the next five or ten minutes, I'm going to give you some ideas about what we've done and what others have done to try to use the space shuttle as a space tourist vehicle. At the present time, the biggest difficulties are safety and cost. But I would like to say that the space shuttle, at the present time, is the only vehicle capable of taking tourists into space, and it is possible to build a passenger cabin to fit into the payload bay that could carry as many as 64 to 72 passengers on a three-day space tour. We've been looking at the use of the shuttle for such tourists since 1982, and there are still many challenges to be met. The major stumbling blocks are cost and safety. It might cost between $200 million and $300 million to build and integrate a passenger cabin for the shuttle, and make the necessary orbiter modifications to meet safety requirements in the event of a launch abort. In order to do this, you would have to take the orbiter out of action for a couple of months, which might cost another $50 to $100 million in lost NASA revenues.

Figure 15

I'm going to show you some studies that were done by various people during the past ten years (Fig. 15). This is a Rockwell study that was done seven or eight years ago, showing a design of a passenger cabin that would fit into the orbiter, and also requires modifications to the orbiter. The cost of this design would be $200 to 300 million, but it could hold 74 passengers that could go into space for three days.

Figure 16

This is another design by Space Habitation Design Associates for a study that was done two years ago showing a slightly different configuration which meets some of the safety requirements for emergency egress in case of a launch abort (Fig. 16). And it's a novel design, which is apparently feasible, but again, very expensive. We're now still talking about $200 to 300 million in the development of the passenger cabin and its integration.

Figure 17

This is another design, based on modified Spacelab design, and it shows two Spacelab modules which are built by Aeritalia in Italy for ESA (Fig. 17). This particular design was done by some people who tried to study the problem, but is not feasible for one reason or another, mainly a C.G. problem, and that configuration actually can't be used.

So, after a couple years of study we're basically using the orbiter, which is still a viable vehicle for space tourism, and we do think that something will be done with the orbiter in the next decade for space tourism. Perhaps it will take just a few at a time, and possibly the Citizens in Space program is a good place to start, but we think that there will be more members of the public, perhaps through a lottery system, some sort of subsidy. We believe that the space shuttle will expand the Citizens in Space program to include more people in the next ten to fifteen years. But real space tourism, as we think of it, will only happen when there are other vehicles flying that can carry numbers of tourists into space, when vehicles will be developed specifically for space tourism. They may be used for other purposes. The Soviet shuttle, of course, can carry three times the payload of our shuttle. It will be flying perhaps in the next couple of years, and will be operational by 1990. You see costs of these various vehicles: Space Van, Phoenix, Hermes, an Advanced Shuttle, a Trans-atmospheric Vehicle, Space Bus, which is a British Aerospace design, an advanced Hermes, and an Advanced Space Bus, which could take 200 to 300 people on a single launch. Some of these vehicles will be flying in the next twenty years.

In terms of the shuttle, the big stumbling blocks for use of the shuttle are cost. Just to rent a dedicated flight, the cost was $35 million in 1984; it will be $71 million in 1986, $87 million in 1988, and perhaps over $100 million in 1990. Even if you build a passenger cabin with 64 seats it would cost $1.4 million dollars a seat to cover the orbiter costs alone. That doesn't include payload processing, payload integration, insurance, capital equipment, amortization, marketing, passenger selection and training, and overhead expenses. These latter costs might add another $10 to 15 million to each flight, and the cost per seat could go as high as $1.5 million when you include some reasonable profit on invested capital.

There are things that you can do with the shuttle tour program to bring down the costs. You can make a smaller passenger cabin so that you can share the payload bay with two or three other revenue-producing satellites that would be paying, say, $25 million each. This introduces a C.G. problem, a center-of-gravity problem, and you would only be able to fly with specific kinds of payloads, which complicates the manifesting problem, and the launch flexibility. But that does reduce the flight cost, the cost per seat, dramatically.

The second possibility is to take the external tank into orbit with some payload in an aft cargo carrier, to share the cost of each flight. And that has been looked at carefully by a number of studies in the past five years. The orbiter has a payload capacity of about 30 tons, and a passenger cabin might weigh only 15 to 20 tons fully loaded. You might take up to 10 tons of water, or fuel, or other cargo for on-orbit space station use. That would also reduce the cost by amortizing the cost over payloads in the aft cargo carrier and other satellites using a smaller module.

A third possibility is to convince NASA, possibly through the National Commission on Space, that space tourism will be a significant driving factor in space development and space commercialization, and that a special shuttle pricing policy that subsidizes space tourism is in the long-term national interest. Maybe NASA would consider a space tourism joint-endeavor agreement that would, for the benefit of space tourism development, provide a series of free shuttle flights to the private company that raises the $250 million required to finance the development of a space shuttle passenger cabin and establish an effective international space tourism marketing organization.

If you employed one or more of these possibilities, you might conceivably reduce the cost per seat to $200,000 to 300,000 for the shuttle. Still far above what most of us can afford, but, believe it or not, there is a small, but viable international market at those prices. In order to develop a massive space tourism enterprise, on the order of tens of thousands of people per year traveling into space, we have to bring down the cost per seat by another order of magnitude, and the goal is to bring down the cost per seat to around $25,000. We might do this with a number of vehicles.

The Soviet shuttle has been under development for some five or more years. It probably will have its initial flight sometime in the next couple of years and may be operational within the next five years. It has a payload capacity of almost a hundred tons, more than three times the shuttle's capacity, and it might be an interesting vehicle for space tourism. It would be unfortunate if the Soviets beat the Americans to the space tourism market, but that definitely is an option. I'm sure that for the first ten years of flight, it will be confined to military missions, building space stations, and doing other similar jobs. But I think, if we're looking ahead ten to fifteen years, the international propaganda value of using a Soviet shuttle, and having the Soviet Union the first country, and the only country on Planet Earth that systematically takes tourists from any nation on Earth into space on a routine basis, is something leaders in our country should start thinking about.

There are other vehicles, such as the French Hermes, which is a manned vehicle, approved by ESA. It only has a capacity of about six people, but this will be flying in 1997. These are the first test flights on the Ariane V, and by the early part of the next century, it might be possible to take a few tourists into space to rendezvous with the Columbus space station, now being developed by Aeritalia for ESA, in the late 1990's or early part of the next century, which is only 15 to 20 years from now.

The Space Van is another vehicle that could carry up to 24 passengers. It is being developed by Len Cormier and his Third Millennium, Inc. The Space Van is launched with the first stage being a 747 and the payload costs to orbit are an order of magnitude lower than the shuttle costs.

An advanced shuttle, a Rockwell version, was shown in Fig. 15. Here again the payload cost to orbit is reduced by some order of magnitude under the present shuttle because of advancing technology and efficiency in design.

There is also the trans-atmospheric vehicle about which there's some debate. There are three or four different aerospace companies looking at trans-atmospheric vehicles including Lockheed. This vehicle would take passengers from New York City to Sidney, Australia, in 30 minutes, across the United States in 12 minutes, or across the Atlantic in 12 minutes. On a flight, for instance, from New York or Los Angeles to Sidney, you'd be out of the atmosphere, up at about 100 miles for some 10 to 12 minutes, which would put you in a weightless condition for a temporary period of time. In fact, it may turn out to be the first vehicle that takes tourists into space on short hops, because life support is not required for any long duration, and the seat costs are down around $10,000 to $15,000 per seat. This vehicle could be flying in fifteen, ten years optimistically, but perhaps fifteen years is more likely.

A television monitor and computer terminal could be used with the passengers on the ground going through training, actually being able to punch in a number of things during launch. They'll be confined to a cabin, and not be able to see the launch themselves, but will be able to punch in any one of five or six different video cameras that are on the ground, listen to ground-to-spacecraft communications, during launch phase, actually getting direct broadcasts from different video cameras on the ground. As they get into orbit and rendezvous with the Space Station they can monitor communications between the Space Station, the vehicle, and the ground, actually participating in a number of experiments on orbit, and educational activities including Earth observations and astronomical observations.

We don't expect rendezvous and docking with Space Station a while after Space Station is in orbit. But by the early part of the next century we see a possibility of docking with the Space Station and, in fact, having some sort of space hotel module attached to the Space Station or co-orbiting with the Space Station that could be used as a tourist facility for short stays in Earth orbit.

The first Citizens in Space flights will be for five to ten days. The first one will occur next year: only one year away. An expanded Citizens in Space program, perhaps with five to ten people a year by 1990 to 95, is only five years from now. The following are foreseen:

  • First low orbit space tours: the mid to late 1990's.

  • Rendezvous with the Space Station tours, for five days: mid to late 1990's.

  • Rendezvous and docking with the Space Station: early part of the next Century.

  • Short visit to a space station module that's used for short visits by people: early part of the next century.

  • An Apollo 8 type Lunar tour that would last eight days is the next step after a rendezvous and docking with the Space Station, and a short stay at the Space Station. At that, were talking about lunar orbit tours 25 to 30 years from now.

  • Extended Earth orbit habitat tour for 12 to 14 days, and a lunar landing tour.

  • The last, which would probably be 40 to 50 years from now, a lunar excursion tour that would last 14 days, where you actually stay at a lunar base facility, and have excursions out from that facility to different nearby lunar places that you'd like to visit.

I'd like to close with a quotation from H. G. Wells, that was written almost a century ago, about our future as human beings: "We are the creatures of the twilight. But it is out of our race and lineage that minds will spring, that will know us better than we know ourselves, and will look forward, fearlessly, to comprehend a future that defeats our eyes. And a day will come, one day in the unending succession of days, when beings, beings who are now latent in our thoughts and hidden in our loins, shall stand upon this Earth as one stands upon a footstool, and shall laugh and reach out their hands amidst the stars." Thank you.

Leonard David: Our last presentation perhaps might be construed as a controversial idea, and controversy has been one of Tom Roger's stomping grounds since I've known him, which has been several years now. Tom is a physicist, a former physicist with Bell Labs, quite a while back, and has also worked at various Federal Government jobs. His latest involvement, in which I was pleased to participate, was a study on the civilian Space Station program. In living up to his name of a controversial consultant, he had quite a number of things to say about the NASA Space Station to NASA which they're still quivering about. With that, I'd like to introduce Dr. Thomas Rogers.

Thomas F Rogers: Thank you, Leonard. It's important that you understand a few things about me. I am a scientist. I am an engineer. I did research and development work at MIT. I was a deputy director of defense research and engineering. And I was the first director of research at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where I learned more about the "real world", the people in it, and how this country is governed, in two years, than I had learned in all my previous professional life. And I am going to call upon that background in making some of the observations that I will make today.

First, though, beyond that, you should know that I spent two and a half of the most satisfying years of my life working for the United States Congress, talking, writing, discussing, thinking about the civil space area and era for its Office of Technology Assessment. I am not talking with reference to OTA today; these are my own personal views and judgments, and those of my Foundation.

I am going to confine myself to the time period bracketed by somewhat more than three to five years and less than 10 to 12 years. Anything major in the space business that's going to take place within three to five years is already underway. Beyond 10 to 15 years, given the assets and experience that we have today, and knowing that we got to the Moon and back from a standing start in nine years, anything can be done. But considering things in space beyond the year 2000, borders on science fiction. So I am going to be talking about a period of time going on toward the end of this decade, and on out to the latter 1990's.

I'd like to describe myself as a realistic visionary, and I'll call your attention to something that's stated in your program, that will indicate to you what a realistic visionary is. "I share with Gerard O'Neill the great aspiration for the employment of that free sunshine that bathes the Earth." The quote is something like that in your program. But I'm also reminded of the fact that the capital investment required in space to turn sunshine to electricity is $5 million per kilowatt which means that to keep a hundred-watt lightbulb lit in space involves an amortized cost of some $ 100,000 a year.

It's very important to appreciate that the space tourism area is paced by two considerations: (1) It's too new' Certainly we're going to do it, but not quite yet. And (2), if we are serious, the cost will be great! So I want to state today: It is closer in my judgment, by far, than we imagine, given that we are smart, and energetic, and imaginative regarding the use to which we put our national civil space assets - assets that we've put together over nearly the past thirty years, for which we have spent, you and I , over $200 billion (1985). It is now technologically and operationally possible for large numbers of the general public to take short trips to Low Earth Orbit. The enormous difficulties and fears of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo era are long since history. The Shuttle fleet is now beginning a demonstrated, operational success. Of course, there are still matters to be dealt with in accommodating a much broader range of passenger interests, characteristics, and experiences. And there will be a nontrivial element of a hazard about trips to, in, and from space for some time to come. But these should not be zero-order considerations as they were even a very few years ago. Each Shuttle trip adds to our knowledge, our experience, and our confidence.

Were the Spacelab module able to be devoted to carrying passengers to and from Low Earth Orbit in the Shuttle's cargo bay, I have no doubt whatsoever but that by the end of this decade the Shuttle fleet could be carrying hundreds of our men and women on trips to and from space each year. Now I am not for a moment suggesting that this is how the Shuttle fleet should be used, but how it could be used if, for any reason, we were to decide to do so.

There are very important objective reasons why large numbers of our general public should visit space. And I'm going to go beyond the simple personal wish, and say there are important national reasons. With our democratic form of government, it is fundamental to the political health and vigor of any public, tax-supported program that it develop a constituency that perceives its own interests to be adequately served by this program. The United States citizenry has been, and still is, generally and generously supportive of its national public civil space program and positively impressed with real-world spectacular achievements in space, such as our countrymen bounding across the Moon's surface, the return of photographs from distant planets, the Shuttle launches and returns, and so on. A few of us are directly and personally involved in space activities, or personally involved in consideration of the character and the scope of these activities. But it is now important to expand this kind of involvement with deliberate speed. There are profound advantages and dangers to democracy, but they all reduce to one rather simple point: In a free society, where citizens have the ultimate power, if you fail to involve them, and they can vote, then you can provoke all kinds of mischief and trouble. In our kind of democracy, there must be some viable method for making people feel like responsible citizens, and today this is particularly important in the civil space area.

There continues to be somewhat of an anomaly in our economic as well as our political thinking about space. We tend to emphasize investment there in hardware terms, to see expenditures on space technology as "hard," and potentially productive, but expenditures on people, except for technology-serving crew members, as somehow "soft," social, and not capital spend-worthy. Yet all parents know that the education of their children is the best investment they will ever make. And virtually every economist will agree that the real wealth of a nation is its people. All of the great post-war economic success stories were based upon the energy, the imagination, and the skills of a motivated population. The characteristic of United States civil space activities that should distinguish them from those of perhaps all other spacefaring countries, and especially those of the Soviet Union, is that they would involve large numbers of our general public directly in space activities, and, as much as practical, in space itself. This would exhibit, for all of the world to see and to appreciate, how the common man here, and I am a common man here, benefits directly from his and her investment in space, and how our citizens are encouraged by our government, "that government for the people," to involve themselves personally in the new space domain as soon as it is reasonably possible to do so.

There is simply no way that the government, and government-supported scientists and engineers, can begin to imagine how space can be perceived, experienced, developed, and used, that could compare with the number and variety of ideas that would flow from having, first hundreds, and ultimately thousands of our men and women, broadly representative of all sectors of our variegated society, and in our public and private sectors alike, solving innovatively all of the problems attendant upon seeing space tourism taking place. Having a large number of our men and women, and our guests from abroad, visiting space on a regular basis would establish a national public presence in space, that would naturally complement the national permanent presence of technology and work force that NASA looks to establish with the Space Station program. And seeing that a broad and rapidly growing cross-section of the United States general public would take a trip to space, would be a particularly fine way for our government to say, in effect, 'Thank you, and welcome aboard!" to its taxpaying citizens for their great financial and political support during an entire generation.

Indeed, a very large number of the general public are believed to have a positive interest in visiting space. The broadly based polls available to me, polls taken over the past few years by the Associated Press, NBC News, the Roper poll in Connecticut, and USA Today, suggest that 40 to 50 percent of our adult population of 180 million, that is to say some 80 million people in the United States alone have some positive interest in taking a short trip into space, and the latter poll suggests that over 30 million people are "extremely interested" in doing so. Thirty million United States adults alone are extremely interested in taking a trip to space! Now clearly, perhaps most of these people were answering in a vicarious fashion. If faced with a decision to do so, say, next year, and if they had to consider seriously matters of price, time away, health examinations, training, travel hazards, and so on, undoubtedly many, upon reflection, would not opt to go.

But now let me pick up the thread of Bob Citron's discussion. If only one percent of that number of extremely interested people offered the practical possibility of so doing, were to decide to take a trip to space, and if five percent of such a reduced population were to be served each year, we would then be talking, on a worldwide basis, of fifty thousand people a year visiting space - a passenger payload, in weight terms, ten times that of the capacity of the present shuttle fleet if it were devoted entirely to the carrying of passenger traffic.

Now some of the leaders of our publicly supported civil space program, for various reasons, still have difficulty appreciating the great potential cultural, economic, and political value of seeing such widespread general public space travel come about. But let me point out that in the economic domain alone the tourist industry is the second largest private employer, and the second largest retail industry in the United States, and of the $500 billion of world gross product that Bob had reference to, $200 billion goes into the travel and tourism activity in the United States. Indeed the taxes derived from the travel and tourism industry are enough to pay for the annual NASA appropriations three times over. Tourism, then, is an enormous potential area of interest when it comes to discussions about benefits from space.

But of course the out-of pocket cost for a passenger trip to LEO is enormous. At present and for the predictable future, millions of dollars each. For by the end of this decade, even when 20 shuttle flights a year are reached, we will still be talking of out-of-pocket costs of $100 million a flight. Nevertheless innovative political, financial, technological methods and means can be seen that, in principle, would allow the commencement of an activity that would see a substantial and rapidly growing number of the general public beginning to visit space in the relatively near future. These methods and means are now being explored actively in various Federal Government and private offices. All that I may say, at present, is that there is essentially no one to my personal knowledge who, in my personal discussions about this practical possibility, has expressed other than keen interest in seeing such an activity undertaken, if the many associated novel and complex problems can be solved, and the arrangements put together. Personally, I would not be surprised if they were begun within the next five years. We'll see.

It should go without saying that it is most important to the entire future of our civil space program, that the unit cost of transporting people and goods to and from space be sharply reduced. The potential for doing so clearly exists and the U.S. aerospace plane R&D program (and others in other countries) will now begin to explore them.

I would emphasize that in my judgment, at least in the civil domain, it is only passenger traffic volume that offers the promise of justifying such expensive space transportation development efforts. For, with the success of each newly-orbited private-sector communications or other satellite, satellite engineers redouble their efforts to reduce the demand on shuttle volume and weight capacity of such future satellite launches. And the success of any private-sector materials processing development will see its engineers exploring keenly the practical possibility of approaching the efficiency of the in-space processing on the Earth's surface, or at least of attempting to move out to less costly in-space platforms. Not so with space tourism. The more people who take the trip to space, and are satisfied with their experience, the more there will be those who also will wish to go, continuing the cycle of market increase leading to lower unit cost, leading to an increase in market volume and to reduced unit cost of transportation, etc..

In short, then, in my judgment, the time has been reached when it is not only possible, but imperative, for several quite different and important reasons, that we now move toward increasing and broadening, sharply and soon, our civil space-experienced, general population. For those of you of like persuasion, I can only urge you to express yourself to your President, your senators, your representatives, and leaders of our publicly, tax-supported civil space program and as well to the newly appointed members of our National Commission on Space. Thank you again, Leonard. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

Leonard David: We're in the unfortunate predicament here of cutting into our next session, and I must apologize for having my watch stop. I'm not sure what our time-frame is with our other speakers, but if there are some burning questions that you have, I would like you to address them perhaps later out in the hall. Unfortunately I can't extend this any more because I am ruining somebody else's presentation. I apologize for that. Let me just conclude that I hope that we've been able to present to you an idea that the space tourism community, the concept of space tourism is a very real thing, and that, as far as all of us concerned here, there's no place left to go but up. Thanks very much.

L David, R Citron, T Rogers & C D Walker, April 25-28, 1985, "The Space Tourist", AAS 85-771 to -774. Proceedings of the Fourth Annual L5 Space Development Conference held April 25-28, 1985, in Washington, D.C..
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