Select Committee on Trade and Industry Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by The Space Transportation Association

I have long been associated with the space area in the US.

  For two reasons, I am prompted to draw your attention to one civil space area that is receiving increased attention in the US and which, because of its general attractiveness, could be of particular interest to the UK—the area of space tourism. This space area is an unusually important one because:

    —  it offers the promise of seeing a new private sector space-related business created that, potentially, could rival that of today's well established satellite communications business; and

    —  the potential size of the space tourism market would allow space transportation vehicle production and operation efficiencies much greater than those of today's expendable launch vehicles and Shuttle fleet, and the resulting reduced space transportation unit cost would then allow many other space activities to take place which, today, are too expensive.

  I am enclosing a copy of Volumes I and II of a co-operative Space[67] Transportation Association (STA)—NASA study of the prospects of a space tourism business and what must be done to realise its economic potential.

  Of note in Volume II is paragraph 5 on page 54: "1996 Space Museums and Attractions Worldwide" which indicate that there already is a large and continuing space tourism business, but that it is now confined to terrestrial space-related trips.

  And Volume I, Appendix A, page 24[68] provides the latest professional estimation of the size of this potential market. Note its finding that some 40 million people in the US are interested in taking a Shuttle-like space trip, and that some three million thereof would be willing to pay US $100,000 or more to do so.

  These figures are confined to the US; the comparable worldwide figures would be significantly larger.

  The second reason for my writing to you in regard to space tourism is to draw your attention to the fine work that two of your countrymen have done in advancing its prospects.

  I met David Ashford of Bristol and Patrick Collins, then of London, and now residing in Japan, a decade and a half ago when I was just beginning my own related studies. They were able to have their space tourism studies published in European professional journals and to help to see the Japanese Rocket Society concentrate a great deal of professional attention thereon. Indeed, their work and the work that they inspired outside of the US played a most important role in prompting attention to be given to space tourism in the US.

  Both of these professionals continue to advance space tourism prospects in effective ways, and their experience and judgement should be of important value to your inquiry.

14 March 2000

67   Not printed. Back

68   Not printed. Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2000
Prepared 13 July 2000