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Published:October 1999
Origin:IAA-99-IAA.1.3.07. 50th International Astronautical Congress, 4-8 October 1999, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Since the beginning of the 1960s, space tourism has been investigated world-wide. NASA has just finished a space tourism feasibility study in co-operation with the Space Transportation Association with promising results. In Japan, different space tourism scenarios are investigated in the context of industrial research for about 10 years with respect to the transportation and accommodation of tourists. In Europe and Germany, space hotel concepts are investigated and several studies analyse future advanced low cost space transportation systems which represent the key technology to make future space tourism affordable for the public. This wide variety of studies indicates, that space tourism is considered to have a considerable economic potential in the mid to long-term. Currently, tourism on Earth represents one of the biggest industrial sectors with an annual market volume of about $3400 Billion (estimate for the year 1995). If it would be possible to shift only a few percent from this amount to a future space tourism market, the size of the global civil space industry could be doubled (for comparison: presently, the global, civil, governmental space budgets amount to about $30 Billion). In this context it is notable, that initial national and international market research analyses indicate, that e.g. 4.3% of the Germans are willing to spent an annual salary for a holiday-trip into space (several $10000). Because of the presently very high space transportation costs in the order of several $10 Million, space tourism will not be feasible in the short-term due to the fact that it is not affordable. However, suborbital flights - perhaps already in the next decade - could represent precursor activities which allow a short stay in space by ascending vertically into space or by landing after one Earth orbit at the departure airport. In this case, the target "ticket prices" are in the range of $10.000 to $100000 comparable in the best case with a Concorde flight from Europe to America. Furthermore, this study presents possible future space transportation concepts of the next generations, which have a significant cost reduction potential and could allow a "space-ticket" price into Earth orbit in the range of a few $100000. These space transportation systems are fully reusable and have very high launch rates, comparable to the operation of present aircraft-fleets within the commercial airline business. The $1 billion effort of NASA's X-33 development program also aims in this direction. Furthermore, this study discusses the economic feasibility of future tourism on the Moon and Mars and presents the Space Hotel Berlin and Space Hotel Europe concepts, which allow the accommodation of about 50 tourists. TheSpace Hotel Berlin concept is mainly based on existing technologies by the use and integration of modified habitation modules (e.g. derived from COF) from the International Space Station to a ring-shaped structure. By rotating this ring-structure at different velocities, a wide variety of artificial gravity levels can be achieved. First economic analyses show that in the case of a 100% capacity utilisation, one overnight stay in the Space Hotel Berlin (without the transportation of tourists from Earth) would cost about $100000. Finally the fascinating entertainment opportunities of future space tourism are outlined.

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