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Space tourism for Leisure and Buisness

Space tourism is human space travel for recreational purposes.  There are several different types of space tourism, including orbital, suborbital, and lunar space tourism. Space Tourism Market lets travelers travel in and across the Earth’s orbit for leisure, recreation, or significant business purposes. In addition, it will probably make travel accessible to the lay and the non-astronaut populace.

 

Additionally, commercial space flight can drastically reduce the time to travel between points on the earth. Instead of conventional air travel, spacecraft could travel above the Earth’s atmosphere to reach different locations. What was once a 16-hour flight may be reduced to merely 2 hours.

 

Space remained inaccessible to private citizens until the 21st century, when Dennis Tito, the first “space tourist” (also known as “spaceflight participant”), flew to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft for a six-day stay. Dennis Tito, the first space tourist, paid $20 million in 2001 to go to the International Space Station (ISS).

 

Tito donated the Sokol pressure suit he wore in space to the Museum in 2003. Since his flight, only six other individuals scored self-funded travel to space (one of these intrepid travelers flew twice). Space Adventures, a US-based travel agency to the stars, facilitated these multi-million dollar, out-of-this-world experiences in partnership with the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.

 

Leisure travel might be a little more exciting for the world’s wealthiest adventure seekers as space, long the exclusive domain of professional astronauts, is now accessible to tourists. In July 2021, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin each successfully launched suborbital tourism programs from their spaceports in New Mexico and Texas, respectively (with Blue Origin completing its second launch in October 2021). In September 2021, SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission kicked off the company’s orbital tourism program from the Kennedy Space Center’s historic Launch Complex 39A. Each of these companies hope to make space a popular destination by offering regular launch services to private citizens.

The most important thing to note is the, determining where the atmosphere ends and space begins is challenging. The Kármán line, which is 62 miles (or 100 kilometres) above sea level, is used as the space border in a widely accepted definition. Space, according to NASA and the US military, begins at 50 miles (80 kilometres) above sea level.  Richard Branson and his crew in the VSS Unity reached a height of 53.5 miles. Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos and other passengers went to a distance of 66.5 miles.

In Spain, Zero 2 Infinity — founded in 2009 by aerospace engineer Jose Mariano Lopez-Urdiales — is looking at offering flights 36 kilometers up into the stratosphere using a balloon-borne pod and launcher. “In my experience talking to people who have been to space, it’s the view that matters,” he says. “That view consists of blue Earth, curved horizon and a black sky during the day … and you get all of that on a high-altitude balloon at a fraction of the risk, cost, and complexity compared with other means.”

To date, Zero 2 Infinity has flown a half-scale vehicle successfully — when full size, it will accommodate two pilots and four passengers. For a cost of approximately $112,000 dollars (100,000 euros), passengers will take a two-hour flight to the stratosphere and remain above the atmosphere for two hours before returning to the ground. The company hopes to fly two pilots on a full-scale vehicle in the next year, pending successful funding.

While estimating the value of the space industry is difficult, recent estimates put it at around $400 billion. The global space business might increase in size to more than $1 trillion by 2040, according to a Morgan Stanley estimate. According to a CNBC storey, the space economy is expected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2030, according to a Bank of America prediction. It’s also worth noting that most recent efforts have been led by private individuals.

Moreover, the High Net Worth of Income individuals toward spaceflight and the growth in the inclination of adventure travelers are propelling the growth of the Space Tourism Market. Aspiring space tourists can expect to pay upwards of $250,000 for a seat on suborbital spacecrafts and an estimated $50 million for a ticket to orbit. Space enthusiasts on a budget can tour Spaceport America, where Virgin Galactic launches to space, for $50 or less.

Besides, the augmented focus on research and development activities by government and private research organizations are other vital aspects expected to drive market expansion. Furthermore, the technological innovations and the users’ preference for space adventures are intensifying at a remarkable growth pace in the future. Therefore, the growth in the Global Space Tourism Market can be attributable to the surge in technological advancements.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also granted Branson a licence for future commercial space missions, clearing the path for many people to become space tourists (and astronauts) in the near future. According to a recent report, over 600 people are waiting to go to space for a $250k ticket.

Whether venturing to space, visiting a spaceport, or engaging in space-related recreation, individuals and families are likely to continue the tradition of incorporating space activities as part of their leisure time.

Aside from space tourism, there are a slew of additional business opportunities in space. Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), based in Sparks, Nevada, launched Sierra Space, a new commercial space firm, in 2021. SNC’s Dream Chaser is a “space utility vehicle” that can transport freight and crew to low-earth orbit (LEO) and land safely on runways, which is important for sensitive cargo like science experiments. It plans to fly to the International Space Station for the first time in 2022.

The Challenges

Obstacles associated with cost, regulation, and technology plague the space tourism industry. Many of the challenges, however, are largely technological.

The most visible challenge associated with bringing about space tourism is the cost. Virgin Galactic is now charging $250,000 a seat for a ride on their SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane. Although that price tag is far out of reach for the average consumer, it is much less than the $70 million Russia charges to ferry US astronauts back and forth from the International Space Station (ISS).

Currently, companies working on space tourism are aiming to sell tickets to the super rich; however, the technologies used are continually being researched and will eventually become affordable to a wider group.

Power Generation

Power generation is perhaps the most crucial aspect of any spacecraft. Electrical engineers design ways of generating, distributing, and consuming power in such a vehicle. Energy systems determine the type and how much fuel will be consumed, how efficient the energy transfer is, and the weight of the vehicle. All of these factors greatly influence the cost of a space flight.

In any vehicle, there is a need for a highly efficient power source. A more efficient source provides less fuel consumption, reducing the cost of running the vehicle. The energy source of a space craft provides power to all the electrical systems on board.

Currently, many orbiting space vehicles, including the ISS, use solar cells to generate power. Solar cells have the advantage of a constant, predictable, and a virtually unlimited source of power. With those advantages, however, come drawbacks. Low orbiting vehicles only have access to the sun’s energy while in direct sunlight, creating the need for a battery. Since the sun is a practically infinite source of energy, solar cells are only limited by their efficiency in converting solar energy to electrical energy.

Nuclear reactors have been considered as a source for commercial space flight applications, which would provide a huge amount of energy. Compared to other methods, this could potentially allow manned vehicles to stay in orbit much longer.

Fuel cells are also commonly used on space vehicles. These devices convert the chemical potential energy of a fuel to electrical energy through a chemical reaction. Since fuel cells utilize a chemical process, no moving parts are needed for their operation. This quality allows them to be highly reliable and independent of gravitational changes, making them ideal for spaceflight.

Solar cells require a large area to generate a significant amount of power, leading to larger and thus more expensive space craft. Although their usefulness in space craft is well understood, their size make them questionable for tourist vehicles. Nuclear reactors are heavy and inefficient for near Earth space voyages. Fuel cells seem to have the best specific power and efficiency of the sources considered. They have additionally proved themselves very useful in past shuttle missions

Launch Reusability Key to Lowering Spaceflight Costs

Blue Origin, the spaceflight company founded by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, is focusing on operational reusability to bring access to space to a broader population. The company’s New Shepard spacecraft will leverage reusable vehicles and “airline-like operational tempos to drive down costs,” says Ariane Cornell, who oversees astronaut and orbital sales for Blue Origin.

“We believe the best way to lower the costs of access to space is by developing operationally reusable launch vehicles,” says Cornell.

Currently, Blue Origin is completing preliminary design review for its New Glenn spacecraft and is moving rapidly toward qualifying their BE-4 engine, which will power both New Glenn and ULA’s Vulcan. Blue Origin’s 180,000 m2 complex on Florida’s Space Coast will serve as the site for manufacturing, integration and operating New Glenn.

A Luxury Hotel in Space

Another company set to tap into the space tourism boom, Orion Span, plans to host four tourists and two crew members in the comfort of Aurora Station, a space “hotel” habitat scheduled for deployment in late 2022 or early 2023, depending on the firm securing required funding this year.

David Jarvis, co-founder and CTO, says his company has embraced a modular architecture, which will allow Orion Span to “build space habitats of various sizes and purposes without having to start from scratch with each variant.” He continues, in saying that “we identified a manufacturing solution that will not only reduce fabrication costs by up to 90 percent but also will accelerate manufacturing speed from years to months.”

 

Global Space Tourism Market

The global Space Tourism Market was valued USD 562.5 Million in 2021 and is all set to surpass USD 3622.5 Million by 2028, exhibiting a CAGR of 36.4% during the forecast period 2022-2028.

The market is strengthening, with vital players dominating and capturing a significant market share. These market players are also planning on R&D to build orbital and suborbital vehicles to travel to space during the forecast period. Also, these players have been investing a considerable number, which will observe rapid growth in the future.

In terms of revenue, the application segment held the largest revenue share of in 2021 and is estimated to maintain its dominance for the forecast period.
In terms of revenue, the product segment held the second largest market share of in 2021 and is estimated to grow rapidly during the forecast period.
The growth can be attributed to rapid urbanization, technological advancement, an increase in investment by developing countries.

North America Dominated the Global Space Tourism Market

North America is leading the Global Space Tourism Market and is expected to continue the same during the forecast period. North America captured the lion share in 2021 and is projected to retain its position over the forecast period. This can be attributed to the existence of a significant number of Space Tourism industry companies and the high adoption rate owing to government measures that stimulate this industry in this region.

The region’s development is due to the well-established infrastructure, which has allowed the rapid adoption of current technologies and the presence of most billionaires. Moreover, the U.S. Space Tourism Market contributes a major market share in this region. Also, the region is equipped with a highly developed infrastructure with a wide-ranging research and development base, which will propel the market growth during the forecast period.

Key companies include Airbus Group SE, Axiom Space Inc., Bigelow Aerospace LLC, Blue Origin Enterprises LP, Excalibur Almaz Ltd., PD AeroSpace Ltd., Sierra Space Corp., Space Adventures Inc., Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Space Perspective, The Boeing Co., Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc., World View Enterprises Inc., Zero 2 Infinity SL, and Zero Gravity Corp.

Recent Developments:

May 2020: US-based SpaceX sent two people into orbit, reusing the Falcon 9 rocket that had delivered the crew into orbit. This is an amazing technological breakthrough for the company, as rocket reuse results in significant cost savings for space exploration.

References and Resources also include:

https://sites.tufts.edu/eeseniordesignhandbook/2015/space-tourism/

https://interactive.satellitetoday.com/the-coming-of-space-tourism/

 

About Rajesh Uppal

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