The main problem about space is how much it costs to get there: it's too expensive! And that's mainly because launch vehicles are expendable - either entirely, like satellite launchers, or partly, like the space shuttle.

So we need reusable launch vehicles. The trouble is that these will not only reduce the cost of launch - they'll also put the makers out of business, unless there's more to launch than just a few satellites a year, as there are today.

Fortunately there's a market that will generate far more launch business than satellites ever well - passenger travel. Market Research has shown that the idea of space tourism is very very popular. And so, just like aviation, the launch industry is going to find that most of its business will be carrying passengers.

But this idea of Space Tourism isn't at all familiar to most people, including the space industry, who are used to the idea that space is for research or military activities. Few people are aware of how much work has been done to show that tourism is a realistic goal, and how rapidly this work is now progressing.

Once travel to orbit becomes a commercial service, the question of how to get to space will be mainly one of saving up for a ticket - or looking for work in one of the many space hotels that will be built. Space offers unique pleasures including the view, and zero gravity activities that provide a whole range of things to do on an orbital holiday - including space sports.

Importantly, and contrary to what many people assume, the space agencies are not at all interested in space tourism, and are not trying to bring it about. This is a pity because space activities will never be profitable until tourism services begin, remaining small-scale, expensive, and dependent on taxes which come from you - which would you prefer?

29 July 2012
Added "Space Debris and Its Mitigation" to the archive.
16 July 2012
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.
9 December 2010
Updated "What the Growth of a Space Tourism Industry Could Contribute to Employment, Economic Growth, Environmental Protection, Education, Culture and World Peace" to the 2009 revision.
7 December 2008
"What the Growth of a Space Tourism Industry Could Contribute to Employment, Economic Growth, Environmental Protection, Education, Culture and World Peace" is now the top entry on Space Future's Key Documents list.
30 November 2008
Added Lynx to the Vehicle Designs page.
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How to get to Space
Many people still think that to get the chance to go to space you've got to try to be an astronaut. Unfortunately, the chance of getting to be a government astronaut is tiny, simply because there are so few - and there's no prospect of a lot more being employed.
Save for a ticket

However, don't despair. Far more people will go to space as visitors. So for anyone, the main, first thing you can do to get to go to space is to save. Estimates of how low the price of a return flight to low Earth orbit will get vary. The target of the Space Tourism Study Program of the Japanese Rocket Society is to bring the price down to about 1 million yen (about L7,000 or US$10,000), on a turnover of about 1 million passengers per year. However, the demand is expected to be so strong that in the early stages prices will be considerably higher - perhaps 5 million yen ($50,000). As the number of vehicles grows, the number of flights will increase, and prices will fall to 2 million yen over 5-10 years, and then to Y1 million if possible.

Many people in the "space industry" find the idea of 1 million people per year going to space almost inconceivable. Yet people in aviation find such a figure almost inconceivably small - less than 1/1000 of the 1 billion passengers carried on scheduled flights each year - that is, just 8 hours of scheduled flights around the world! So it's clearly not an unrealistic target!

So if you want to have $10,000-20,000 (Y1-2 million) in 10 - 20 years, you need to save $1,000 (Y100,000) a year, give or take. Better would be to save $100/month (Y10,000/month). That way, the longer it takes companies to get services up and running, the more money you'll have ready to pay! But remember, that's got to be separate from your other savings - because you are going to use it!

Get a job in space

In order to stay longer in space, you can work in one of the businesses that will set up in orbit. There will of course be opportunities in manufacturing - aerospace vehicle makers, spaceline operators, orbital construction, electric power, extra-terrestrial mining, chemical engineering and other fields. So you can study, and make the right career moves to be well-placed for these.

But for the foreseeable future the hotel business will probably employ as many people in space as all these other industries put together. Note, just like hotels on Earth, the day-to-day work won't be particularly well-paid. But it will be in space, which will have its own rewards!

Make waves

If you'd like to take a more active role in bringing our space future about (please do!) it will be very helpful to ask airline, hotel and travel companies if and when they intend to offer space travel.

If you have time to make a more serious contribution you can do research in one or more of the many areas needing it; or, if you have an issue you want to see addressed, why not write an article about it and submit it to the journal?

Finally, you can join - or even start - a company working towards a future in space. Several fledgling and not-so-fledgling companies are already starting out on this road, but there's a lot of opportunity for growth and plenty of room for more.

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