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    PREDICTIONS

    Will Space Tourism be tiny or huge by 2030?

    Will Space Tourism be tiny or huge by 2030?

    Three billionaires are in a battle: Jeff Bezos with Blue Origin, Richard Branson with Virgin Galactic and Elon Musk with SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft. Because of them, tourists flying up into space to have a look at planet earth is happening sooner than you think... in fact, it's happening right now.

    In this article, I predict how huge Space Tourism will be by 2030 on a scale of 1 to 10 based on looking at:

    • The technology needed
    • The companies making it happen
    • What's to love
    • jobs that will be hired.

    Technology

    Space tourism will be huge if the three major technology challenges are solved.

    Leave Earth

    The technology needed for spacecraft to leave earth for space tourism by 2030 will be "Solved." Each billionaire is taking a different approach.


    Branson has built a plane called WhiteKnight Two that takes off like a conventional plane from a runway to carry SpaceShip Unity up to 50,000 feet.
    It's then released and launches using a hybrid rocket motor engine.

    Jeff Bezos's New Shepard spacecraft is a reusable rocket system with a pressurized passenger capsule and a rocket vehicle. It's launched vertically powered by a liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen-based engine The rocket performs a powered flight for 110 seconds to an altitude of 25 miles when momentum carries it upwards to 62 miles (100km). The rocket then detaches from New Shepard.
    Elon Musk's SpaceX Dragon spacecraft uses a very similar approach to Blue Origin's New Shepard. Both Branson and Bezos companies have performed successful test flights - getting ready to fly them.

    Elon Musk has already flown humans into space but has not yet confirmed his plans for commercial space tourism.

    Branson's spacecraft
    Jeff Bezos' spacecraft

    Look at Earth

    The technology needed to look at Earth by 2030 is solved.

    Branson's SpaceShip Unity carries a total of 8 people into space, 6 passengers, and 2 pilots. For them to look at Earth from space, it's designed with a total of 17 airline-like windows. These windows are bordered by foam handles for best viewing during zero gravity. Their seats have digital displays to show live flight data including speed, remaining time and g-force. The lights are also turned off inside Unity while in space to enhance the visibility of the Earth.
    Jeff's pilotless New Shepard crew capsule carries a total of 6 space tourists
    The capsule is designed with 6 large windows measuring 2.4 feet wide by 3.6 feet tall for maximum visibility, the largest windows ever flown in space. They are almost the size of a car windshield, making up over a third of the capsule. There is a seat in each window.

    Inside Branson's SpaceShip Unity
    Inside Bezos' New Shepard

    Back to Earth

    The technology needed to get back to Earth by 2030 is also solved.

    Branson will spend about 6 minutes in space before heading back to Earth. The pilots raise the craft’s wings to its re-entry configuration. This is known as the 'feathered' position:  it slows down the spacecraft's rate of descent.
    Gravity will then pull the spacecraft back towards the earth, decelerating as as the air outside thickens. Once the spacecraft returns to the regular atmoshere, the pilots return the wings to their normal configurations in preparation for landing.
    It then glides back to Spaceport America in New Mexico for a normal runway landing, with a total travel time of 90 minutes. For Blue Origin's New Shepard, getting back to Earth is a little bit different. The crew capsule stays in space until gravity starts pulling it down, parachutes are then deployed for a soft landing - the total flight is 11 minutes.
    The Booster itself is completely reusable and lands itself minutes after takeoff
    In summary, because the technologies are solved by 2030, it points to space tourism being at the huge end of the scale.

    SpaceShip Unity heading back to Earth

    Companies

    Space Tourism will be huge if there are unicorns -  startup companies that have a valuation of more than a billion dollars and when there's plenty of big established companies.

    Virgin Galactic

    Branson's company, Virgin Galactic, is already a unicorn. The company's SpaceShipTwo project started in 2006 with test flights beginning in 2010. It completed its first human spaceflight in May 2021 from Spaceport America, New Mexico. This increases Branson's hope to get a commercial license soon, because he wishes to beat Jeff Bezos by 2 weeks to get to space on 4 July weekend in 2021. Since its bookings opened in 2011, Virgin Galactic already has 600 clients from 60 countries who have paid $250,000 for a seat waiting for SpaceShipTwo to become fully licensed.

    Blue Origin

    Bezos's company, Blue Origin is also a unicorn

    In early June of 2021, Bezos announced that he would be among the first few passengers to fly the launch New Shepard rocket into space with his brother, Mark. But why does Bezos want to go to space? "Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space. On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother." He said on an Instagram post.

    SpaceX

    Elon Musk's SpaceX is another unicorn. His Crew Dragon spaceship has already conducted flights to the International Space Station with astronauts on board.

    It's the first private company to send people to orbit, a feat only previously achieved by governmental space agencies. Unlike Branson and Bezos, who focus on Kármán line suborbital space tourism (ie flying to 100km), Elon concentrates more on orbital space tourism, where people spend several days in space. While SpaceX hasn’t disclosed specifically how much it will cost, it is likely to be in the $50 million per person range

    There’s few multinational companies that are active.

    Investing
    Corporates have invested in space tourism. This includes Boeing who's partnered with Virgin Galactic to set the stage for commercial partnerships, has invested $20 million in the startup.

    Sending Travellers to Space
    Boeing is also sending travellers to space. Boeing is the second company contracted by NASA to send astronauts to the ISS, along with SpaceX. As part of their agreement, Boeing will have empty seats on some launches, which they are permitted to sell to tourists. The cost of a night on the ISS is $35,000

    Love

    Now we look at Love.  Space tourism will be huge if it attracts plenty of 5-star ratings and a few 1 stars.

    Viewing the Earth

    Viewing the Earth will be amazing and scores a definite 5 stars. By 2030, customers of Branson, Bezos and Musk will be able to view the beauty of Earth from the sky. Passengers get dressed in their space suit. Walk towards the spacecraft. Get seated and belted. Await countdown to vertically takeoff... Take off... And then see the earth get smaller... and smaller... and smaller...to the point...where the passenger can see the entire earth...and you can experience zero gravity...giving them an out-of-this-earth experience... literally!!

    Life changing

    Space tourism earns 5 stars for a life-changing experience. Astronauts report that the experience of viewing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space is emotionally moving. This experience is known as the "overview effect", an actual cognitive shift in awareness.
    Michael Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut said:

    "The thing that really surprised me was that the Earth projected an air of fragility. And why, I don’t know. I had a feeling it’s tiny, it’s shiny, it’s beautiful, it’s home, and it’s fragile."

    Safety

    Safety scores 3 stars. There are risks and challenges involved in space tourism, especially during takeoff and landing.
    Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo crashed in 2014 with 2 pilots onboard while landing the aircraft.
    One died while the other sustained serious injuries.
    Blue Origin's New Shepard exploded in 2011 at an altitude of 45,000 feet after a malfunction. It had no passengers
    Whilst every precaution is taken blasting into space has inherent safety risks.

    Affordable

    For affordability, space tourism scores 2 stars only.

    Branson's, Bezos' and Musk's flights to space are far from cheap. Branson charges a booking fee of $250,000 to reserve a seat in his spacecraft ... but you get to keep your jumpsuits, underwear, and boots. After realizing her husband had bought a ticket for her in 2011, this is what one of the expected passengers had to say; “I went through a lot of crazy emotions, like, ‘Did you really buy this? Do we still have enough money to remodel the kitchen?’ .” Today, she is still waiting for the trip.
    A passenger to accompany Bezos in his July 2021 flight paid a whopping $28 million for a seat in an online auction on June 21. Over the next few years, whilst the price will come down considerably but it will still be out of the reach of most.

    Jobs

    If Space Tourism is going to be huge there will be lots of jobs hired and fired.

    Disneyland Workers will be fired if one day space tourism takes spending money away from trips there.

    On the hired side, Branson's Virgin Galactic team has 109 job vacancies listed on LinkedIn at the time of recording.

    They are across multiple job functions including: in Finance, Structural Engineer, Stress Engineer, Project scheduler, Astronaut Relations. It's well worth looking at LinkedIn if you're interested in getting a job in the Space Tourism sector.

    Helping you make good career decisions is a big reason why I'm doing this Life in 2030 channel. Jobs in fast growing new sectors like air taxis are exciting and more secure than in older sectors.

    Jobs in fast growing new sectors like space tourism are exciting and more secure than in older sectors. Jobs in the space tourism industry are centred on the US. Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and SpaceX are all headquartered in the US. And the Chinese have a big space programme that will probably include space tourists one day.

    You could set up some job alerts for these companies. It's easy to do on LinkedIn and click to have a look at my 'Finding great jobs for life in 2030' video. Because there's plenty of jobs being hired and fired, from a Jobs point of view, Space Tourism is at the Huge end of the scale.

    Prediction

    Now we've covered all four sections, it's time to make a prediction.

    We've seen the technology needed is solved.

    There are plenty of unicorns already.

    It gets an overall 4 star rating.

    Loads of new jobs are being hired.

    On a scale of 1 to 10, Space Tourism is at the huge end of the scale by 2030 at a 9.

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