Space tourism is quickly becoming a reality, with companies like Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX offering tourist flights. Although not currently a significant business sector, space economy holds immense promise as an emerging field that could grow into a billion-dollar market over time.
Space travel is a unique service that distinguishes itself from traditional vacation excursions. Additionally, it is highly competitive industry with companies like World View, Zero 2 Infinity and Orbital Assembly all jostling for market share.
Space tourism has long been available, yet remains expensive due to launch costs for spacecraft and rockets. Industry professionals strive to increase efficiency that will bring down travel costs as much as possible.
Virgin Galactic and SpaceX are currently offering suborbital flights for paying tourists, which will give them a view of Earth from above the Karman line and experience weightlessness for themselves. Prices of such trips could run into the millions.
Blue Origin, owned by Jeff Bezos and led by Bob Bezos himself, is working on reusable launch systems which will significantly lower the cost of traveling into space and make space tourism more accessible to people with more disposable income. One day these methods of space transportation may even transport people directly to Mars; until then however, space travel remains restricted only to the wealthiest individuals and corporations.
Space tourism is an intriguing prospect that holds immense promise of opening new scientific frontiers and developing technology to make space travel cheaper for all. Additionally, income generated from this industry can be used to fund further research and development; additionally its popularity will create demand for other space-related technologies like reusable rockets and cargo ships.
Critics are concerned about the environmental impacts of space tourism despite its numerous advantages. Rockets used to launch spacecraft and tourists into orbit emit significant air pollution, contributing to global warming while harming our atmosphere.
Blue Origin and other companies like them are creating reusable rockets that emit no carbon or pollution, helping the industry become more environmentally-friendly just as airplane passenger flights did. Furthermore, space tourism will create new job opportunities in this sector of space exploration.
Space tourism is a relatively new industry with great potential to positively affect many socioeconomic factors. It could create jobs, enhance education, drive further innovation in space economies and offer new avenues of research – however there remain concerns regarding its future viability.
Concerns related to space travel include environmental, legal and safety considerations. Launches create debris that remains in orbit for years after launch; this debris may damage other satellites or spacecraft in their path and interfere with operations. Furthermore, space travel requires vast amounts of energy and materials – resources which are finite in supply that may become depleted over time.
Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are currently working on developing space tourism, targeting wealthy consumers but their technology will eventually make space travel affordable to a broader population. They have both suborbital and orbital tourist vehicles in development; respectively the SpaceShipTwo from Virgin Galactic and New Shepard from Blue Origin; both vehicles feature distinct power sources but should eventually become fully reusable.
Space tourism may still be in its infancy, but its potential growth could include more people with high net worth. The industry has leveraged people who desire to take part in an historic moment; media coverage has amplified their desire and given space travel more legitimacy than would otherwise exist.
Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, two companies developing commercial suborbital spaceflights, currently lead the market. Spaceflight tickets typically cost 1.5% of an individual’s net worth; similar to what might be required when buying a yacht.
As the industry expands, more companies should appear that specialize in different services related to space exploration such as mission planning, training and spaceport operations. This will create a business ecosystem with horizontally integrated firms similar to airlines utilizing economies of scale and best-of-breed technology to reduce costs and offer their services more competitively.