Space Adventures has a video animation on its site that illustrates the new lunar flyby mission (privately experience what Jim Lovell a few others did - not the Apollo 13 hazard but the good missions)
This is an interview with Tom Shelley by Sander Olson. Tom is the Vice President of Marketing for Space Adventures, Ltd. Space Adventures is the only company providing space access to tourists. They have been in the news lately because of the flight of Charles Simonyi to the International Space Station. Here are the main points of the interview:
- Space access costs are increasing and may continue to increase for the next few years, due to the fact the growing demand for Soyuz capacity and the limited availability of man-rated rockets. Beyond that, however, space access costs should massively decrease due to next-generation launch systems emerging.
-The current cost for an orbital flight is $35 million, and $100 million for a lunar flyby. U.S. rockets like the Delta are not man-rated and are substantially more expensive than Soyuz, so Soyuz is currently the only game in town for commercial orbital flights. Chinese rockets are being developed and they might be appropriate for such missions in the future.
-Space Adventures needs two paying customers to proceed with the lunar flyby mission. The mission will include three customers, one of whom is the pilot/commander. The mission would include one pass around the farside of the moon, and would take about a week.
-Although near-term commercial space plans revolve around tourism and satellites, there are numerous other potentially lucrative space enterprises, such as mining asteroids and space-based solar power, either of which could become multi-billion dollar industries. Once space-access costs are sufficiently reduced, orbital hotels should become feasible, and Space Adventures is very interested in that concept.
- The commercial space industry is poised for exponential growth, similar to the growth that occured a century ago with airplanes. The commercial airline industry acheived critical mass in the 1930s, during the heighth of the Great Depression, so this recession will not stop the exponential growth.
Tom Shelley Interview
Question 1: In what ways is your company, Space Adventures, unique?
Question 2. What are the current costs for an orbital flight? How will pricing change during the next few years?
Question 3. Will costs increase or decrease during the next decade?
Question 4. Is Space Adventures developing its own Rocket or spacecraft?
Question 5: Has NASA been a positive or negative force for commercial space exploration?
Question 6: To what extent is the global recession affecting space tourism?
Question 7: What steps could the Government take to encourage the commercial development of space?
Question 8: Describe the Space Adventures Lunar Mission package.
Question 9: Has Space Adventures examined the feasibility of orbital hotels?
Question 10: Besides tourism and satellites, what other commercial markets exist for space development corporations?
Question 11: Some have argued that the space industry is poised for exponential growth. Do you agree?