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Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry made special note of the promise of public space travel. The demand will rise without limit as the price drops. The Commission suggested that space tourism markets might help fund the launch industry through its current market slump. Increased launch demand thanks to space tourism could help drive launch costs down, they concluded, perhaps ultimately support a robust space transportation industry with “airline-like operations.”

Potential hazard

  1. Vehicle reliabilities not of the same order of magnitude as those of commercial aircraft.
  2. Impact between deorbiting debris and commercial aircraft. In the case of the Columbia disaster the probability was at least one in a thousand, and the chance of an impact with a general aviation aircraft was at least one in a hundred. The analysis used the current models which assume that any impact anywhere on a commercial transport with debris of mass above 300 grams produces a catastrophic accident:

Corroborating sources and comments

For a space tourism industry to be viable, flight rates about two orders of magnitude higher than those required for conventional space lift would be mandatory. That translates into a paradigm shift; a culture change in rethinking and redesigning all the major components of a space plane system.

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