The Bremen Symposium on Space Tourism
by Adriano Autino
Since 21st to 23rd of April it was held in Bremen, sponsored by DASA, and superbly organized by Hartmut Mueller, the second International Symposium on Space Tourism. The manifestation, although modest in number, recorded a great interest by German media, and saw many and excellent presences. Though with different emphasis, many people, with dash, conjugated economics and space flight, pointing out the development of passenger transport services and of the Merchant Astronautics as the true motor of economic development in the new millennium. It is really possible to assert that the good level of clarity achieved on this analysis is the excellent result of this symposium.
The most kindled discussion centred on the complex and discussed theme of the human access to extra-planetary environment. Will be the market to open the space frontier? If we answer yes - and in any case it would be impossible to leave apart the market's context, being by now ended the prosperous days of government funds - a demand of orbital services enough to justify the big private necessary investments must be hoped or developed. Many of the participants to the symposium identify really in the space tourism the mean, the ignition factor of the new frontier.
Extremely complex it appears however the transition from the current situation of Astronautics, so expensive and prohibitive for individuals, to a situation of blooming development of a space industry. The Space, from the point of view of the Astronautics, by now is a whole exclusiveness of government Space Agency. The funds needed for the production of the International Space Station and of the very expensive Space Shuttle missions are quite out of range for any investor, not to mention tourist aspirations.
Paradoxically, we realize instead a rising marketing of Space, in terms of telecommunication-satellites. With the cheap cost of some ten milliards liras anyone can launch in orbit his own satellite, and by now the development of multi-media communication via satellite is advanced, that will see the installation of colossal communication plants in geo-stationary orbit.
Such a marketing process, starting immense investments on planetary level, doesn't need however human presence in the Space, so it will promote (to a certain extent) the industry of spendable rockets, without increasing the development of reusable and cheap launchers, though the technology was by now available. Such process, in case rectification factors will not operate, will contribute to close, instead of open, the Space frontier to Mankind, as i clearly underlined in my presence to symposium.
In the second part of this century, the taxpayers in the world have spent about from half to one trillion of US$ for civil activities in Space -- it has been observed 50% on human activity. If the same investment was made on commercial base it would generate invoices for several billions US$ in a year, employing more that ten millions people on a permanent base and providing profits of tens billions US$ in a year. The telecommunication and transmission satellites industry generates by now total sales for twenty billions US$ in a year, while the human activity yearly Space invoices only amounts to some ten millions US$.
It was also pointed out that Astronautics would be the only motor able to support the current deflationary economic tendency overcoming (structural and long during), due to the overproduction of decoction industries. If we think, in fact, of the itself etymology of the word economic policy, that means management of scanty resources, we can indeed assert that the blooming of a true space industry would mark really the end of the up to now known economics: the concept of scanty resources it would be changed, in fact, by that of numberless resources. A vision that has against not only the huge objective difficulties, but also many and powerful enemies, and so it will not realize itself without the help of politics, and without financial and credit instruments ad hoc, for instance, bearing the management of long-term investments (at last ten or fifteen years). And, maybe, the institution of a Terrestrial Fund, or a Terrestrial Space Bank. Goals, these ones, introduced by me, among the others, in the Bremen symposium, in my paper "A plan for Merchant Astronautics".