By 2021 space tourism could be worth $700 million annually and launch 14,000 tourists a year, says a new market study. The survey, by US consulting firm Futron, is based on interviews with hundreds of high net-worth individuals.
Based on a ticket cost of $200,000, Futron concludes there could be a market of around 1,000 customers for services starting in 2008. Virgin Galactic, which aims to begin flights in 2008, and competitor Space Adventures each claim 200 customers so far. But Space Adventures admits many of its customers are also Virgin Galactic customers.
“The customer is normally 55 years old and, for suborbital flight, 72% of them are male,” Futron space and telecommunications programme manager Janice Starzyk told the Royal Aeronautical Society’s space tourism conference in London on 7 June. The study followed Futron’s 2002 survey that also concluded the market would be worth $700 million a year by 2021.
Space Adventures, meanwhile, has revealed details of its proposed circumlunar trip. For $200 million, two people would travel with a pilot on a five-day trip around the Moon and back in an improved version of the Soyuz capsule, says orbital spaceflight vice-president Christopher Faranetta.
The Soyuz would be launched to the International Space Station, where it would wait for the translunar injection (TLI) stage, a modernised version of the Block DM upper stage, to be launched. The two would dock and the TLI would push the capsule and its service module on a trajectory to orbit the Moon at an altitude of 100km (62 miles).