Yes, we'll have space hotels in 2030!

by Patrick Collins

OUR QUESTION: Dear Patrick, Pierluigi Polignano, a new graduated in economy making his graduation work on Space Tourism, started to collaborate with TdF, and sent me a beautiful article, now online. The following sentence is taken from the said article: 
"Then, lunar and planetary hotels will be built, but this kind of offer should develop only when the market will be really mature and all technologies will allow such incredible structures, "probably around 2030", says Patrick Collins, one of the most important experts of Space Tourism in the world." 

Now, it seems to me that your position, in 2000, was, more or less (apologize for schematizing too much): if the agencies would invest only 1% of their yearly budget in astronautic technologies (i.e. rlv, to downsize the cost to orbit from 20000 to 2000 $/kg, and then to 200 $/kg), from 2005 to 2030 space tourism could develop up to your popular scheme "2030 Space Tourism Business". 

Agencies didn't make it, though the cancelation of X-33 and the recent positive test of the scram-jet vehicle are signs of a possible change of root. The SS1's enterprise, and the challenge by China, are very powerful events, that could trigger a new race, and an astronautic one!

So, what is your position July 17th 2004, all considered? Do you foreseee that we will have space hotels in 2030? Will we see the space economy spread during the following 20 years?

PATRICK'S REPLY: Many thanks for the message below. Very interesting. My main thoughts are as follows:
The 2030 illustration was first published in 1999
(1)(2)(3) - at the Bremen meeting - so it's lost 5 years so far. But I still maintain it would be possible to achieve that result within 30 years of funding being seriously available to develop orbital passenger launch vehicles.

The great majority of the investment would come from the private sector, but in order to get started, governments should support the development of passenger launch vehicles - as they supported the development of vehicles like Soyuz, Delta, Space shuttle, Ariane, Concorde and many others - which they then handed over to private companies to operate.
The figure I used was that we need about 10% of space agencies' budgets for at least some years: I stated this in my 2003 IAF

Unfortunately I don't think the scramjet engine tests are at all important. Existing rocket engines are quite adequate for Kankoh-maru and Spacebus type vehicles. 

So yes, I am sure we will have space hotels in 2030. And lunar tourism could even start by then - since it's a much smaller
step from orbit than sub-orbital is to orbit. It will take longer if governments provide no help - but I think the publicity caused
by SpaceShipOne will help to teach more people about the absurdity that space agencies have spent $1 trillion since
Gagarin - but have not reduced the cost of space flight by a single cent! So governments will be obliged to do what is 
economically beneficial - what a strange idea! :-) 




S Fawkes* and P Collins - Space Hotels: The Cruise Ship Analogy - 2nd International Symposium on Space Tourism, Bremen, April 21-23 1999


P Collins - Space Activities, Space Tourism and Economic Growth - 2nd International Symposium on Space Tourism, Bremen, April 21-23 1999


Patrick Collins & Yoshiyuki Funatsu - Collaboration with Aviation - The Key to Commercialisation of Space Activities - Paper no IAA-99-IAA.1.3.03 presented at session on Space Tourism of the 50th IAF Congress+Congress", Amsterdam, October 7, 1999 - Republished in Acta Astronautica, Vol 47, Nos 2-9, pp 635-646, 2000


Dr. Patrick Collins - Growing Popular Interest in Space Tourism: Challenge and Opportunity for Space Agencies - IAF paper no. IAC-03-LBN.1.08 Presented at the Late Breaking News session on September 30 54th International Astronautical Congress, Bremen 

[022.PC.TDF.2004 - 24.07.2004]