Study projects demand for spaceflights

2012-08-02 20:37
Commercial suborbital spaceflights should bring in between $600m and $1.6bn in revenue in their first decade of operations. (AP)

Commercial suborbital spaceflights should bring in between $600m and $1.6bn in revenue in their first decade of operations. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Canaveral - Commercial suborbital spaceflights should bring in between $600m and $1.6bn in revenue in their first decade of operations, according to a study commissioned by the US and Florida governments and released on Wednesday.

Tourism drives about 80% of the demand for suborbital flights, which reach about 100km above the planet's surface before plunging back through the atmosphere.

The thrill ride gives fliers a few minutes to float in microgravity and a view of the Earth set against the blackness of space.

Virgin Galactic, an offshoot of Richard Branson's London-based Virgin Group, is one of six firms developing reusable suborbital spaceships, an analysis by The Tauri Group of Alexandria, Virginia, found.

Prices currently range from $200 000 for a ride on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, a six-passenger, two-pilot vehicle currently undergoing testing, to $95 000 for a flight on privately held XCOR Aerospace's planned two-seater Lynx vehicle.

Fledgling industry

Virgin Galactic, which is aiming to begin commercial service around 2014, already has $70m in deposits from 536 people, Chief Executive George Whitesides said at a related congressional hearing on Wednesday.

The Tauri Group believes there are about another 7 500 wealthy people waiting in the wings.

"Our analysis indicates that about 8 000 high-net-worth individuals from across the globe are sufficiently interested and have spending patterns likely to result in the purchase of a suborbital flight - one-third from the United States," the report said.
"We estimate that about 40% of the interested, high-net-worth population, or 3 600 individuals, will fly within the 10-year forecast," it added.

The study, which included surveys of 200 people with a net worth of least $5m, valued the fledgling industry at $600m in its first decade, based on current market conditions and interest.

The market could be worth nearly three times that if marketing and consumer interest grows in the wake of successful flights, the study said.

"Further potential could be realised through price reductions and unpredictable achievements such as major research discoveries, the identification of new commercial applications, the emergence of global brand value, and new government (especially military) uses for suborbital reusable vehicles," the study said.

After tourists, the next biggest group of potential users are in the research community. Other potential markets include technology flight demonstrations, media and public relations, education, satellite launching, remote sensing and suborbital travel from one destination to another, a technology that is likely beyond the study's 10-year time frame.

The $277 000 study, titled "Suborbital Reusable Vehicles: A Ten-Year Forecast of Market Demand", was paid for by the US Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees commercial spaceflight, and the state of Florida, which is home to Nasa's Kennedy Space Centre.
Read more on:    space

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.