Space tourism is now big business. Tens of millions of dollars have been paid by customers, queuing up to spend time in space.
Space Adventures has been operating for over a decade and carried seven private citizens to the International Space Station, each spending between 1 and 2 weeks in orbit – one has flown twice spending a total of 25 days in orbit. Company President Tom Shelley will explain what the future holds and Anousheh Ansari (the 4th private citizen to travel to the ISS) will outline her amazing experience.
Virgin Galactic is in the final stages of certifying the SpaceShipTwo rocket plane in the US. Nearly 500 people have paid about £40 million in deposits on the $200,000 price to take the sub orbital ride. Company CEO George Whitesides will brief the conference on the current status.
X-COR recently secured an additional $5 million in funding from a group of investors that includes Chicago Cubs co-owner Pete Ricketts. The company has been making progress on the Lynx, a winged vehicle that takes off from a runway under its own rocket power, ascending to altitudes of about 60 kilometers (for the Mark 1; the Mark 2 will go to 100 kilometers or higher) before gliding back to a runway landing. Company COO Andrew Nelson, who will speak at the conference, said “We’re very much looking forward to getting all of these pieces put together and hopefully, by the end of the year, have a little air under the wheels in Mojave” referring to the schedule for the first flight tests of the Lynx.
Excalibur Almaz has acquired two partially complete Russian Almaz Space Station frames and a Reusable Return Vehicle. These will provide platforms for crewed space exploration missions plus microgravity scientific experimentation to serve governments, businesses and academic institutions. Company Founder and CEO Art Dula will explain the company’s plans.
Passengers who have flown or signed up with X-COR, Virgin Galactic and Space Adventures will explain their personal spaceflight objectives and ambitions.
As in the airline business, the ground infrastructure to support flight operations requires significant investment. Spaceport operators also have to clear non-trivial regulatory hurdles. Spaceport America has opened in New Mexico, Spaceport Sweden hopes to be the first to do so in Europe while Curaçao will offer a Caribbean base – the top management of all three will be here as will the lawyer helping Spaceport Sweden negotiate the regulatory corridors in Brussels.
The business has come of age when the insurance industry offers tailored policies for it - Allianz Director Erick Morazin will be here to describe their space tourism travel insurance package. And to make sure you will enjoy the flight, passengers first experience a short ground-based exercise in special training facilities. The NASTAR Center near Philadelphia is the leading facility for space tourist training and Keith George will be here to explain.
This conference will bring together stakeholders such as private space companies, venture capitalists, payload integrators, industrial partners, lawyers, tourism agencies, and safety, regulatory & insurance experts. It will be a timely opportunity to hear and interact with the leaders and innovators from the space tourism industry and develop key professional relationships. The event is essential for those looking for the latest news and developments in space tourism, and for those aiming to profit from the evolution of space travel to a global mass market.
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