NY TIMES: Space Tourism is Here!
MR. LAUNIUS and other experts say suborbital flights in reusable vehicles are more feasible than, for example, retracing the steps of the Apollo mission. And confidence is high that there is an appetite for even brief tastes of space: last month, the Tauri Group, a Washington-area consulting firm with a specialty in space issues, found a potential market of up to $1.6 billion over the next decade for suborbital flights.
“In terms of an industry moving toward fruition, versus an industry that has a plan,” said Carissa Christensen, managing partner of the Tauri Group, “I think it has absolutely made that shift.”
There is a variety of practical reasons for the sudden surge in activity. They include cheaper, better technology and composite materials, along with a burst of previously pent-up entrepreneurship let loose by NASA’s new need for private companies to replace shuttle flights. For its part, NASA says it is “counting on the innovative commercial space industry” for rides to the space station and other low-orbit destinations.
But the desire for such trips may also lie in the fact that people are simply running out of places to go.