[Revision] Is space tourism today a sustainable business reality or an utopia ? A review of the current state of the space tourism and its evolution
Since the origin of time, space has fed the imagination of mankind. Visionary artists like Jules Verne, Stanley Kubrick or Herge were also able to illustrate that passion and give all of us the capacity to live unreachable adventures before the climax of the first landing on the Moon in July 1969. Today, space is slowly opening up further and a new commercial era is starting with the possibility to offer private paying trips into space (zero G, orbital or sub-orbital or even beyhond) to selected few clients. Seeing the very expensive ticket price and limited space available, “Space tourism” remained so far a billionaire caprice full of challenges and the purpose of this research paper is to review the scope/offering available and understand the economic viability and potentiality of such a market, aiming to answer a simple question: is space tourism today a sustainable business reality or an utopia ? Will our generation see a democratization of space tourism and will we be part of those tourists ? This paper will review the market players (public and private), competition and offering (past, present and being setup), the economic model (direct and indirect), technology used and assumptions made by the various international players in the industry, linking it with the recent technological evolution of the space industry. Potential market for the space tourism (beyond the few billionaires) & constraints/limitations linked to it (legal framework, security constraints, insurance, health requirements & training). The economic model of space tourism, including its marketing. Ticket price and its incidence on the development of space tourism.
An important angle is also to assess how sustainable the space tourism technology can be in a world where sustainability is a key criteria in any business and space industry is often questioned regarding the rationale to move forward.