The final frontier market

September 25, 2008

The present may be pretty bleak for investors, but that has not stopped one firm from looking decidedly at the future – privatised space travel. Fortis Investments reckons space tourism will one day become all the rage with travellers willing to fork out thousands upon thousands of dollars for the adventure.

SpaceIn the latest issue of Fund Expert magazine, Fortis looks at the nascent industry and reckons that the price of a space trip – roughly $200,000 to begin with – should come down substantially as a result of competition. There is already some – including Virgin Galactic, which is aiming for launch by next year, and Rocketplane, which should go up the year after.  They will start modestly, just sticking their noses out of the atmosphere.

The new industry, however, eventually should mean a boom in new employment, requiring commercial astronauts, flight attendants, tour operators and so on. But the flight operators may also be licking their lips at the prospect of getting government military and scientific research contracts. Fortis – whose Brussels headquarters coincidently is located on Avenue de l’Astronomie — reckons that a NASA flight currently costs the U.S. government $1.3 billion a pop. So outsourcing would be attractive.

To boldly go, in effect, looks set to become more than just Star Trek’s mantra and the world’s most famous split infinitive.

2 comments

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So many people will ride into space if they can – count me in!

Virgin Galactic are showing great vision, some people dismiss suborbital flights as trivial but they are a crucial step in the commercialization of space. They will contribute to establishing a new private space industry and lay the platform for orbital activity. Let’s face it, not much has happened in manned spaceflight exploration since Captain Eugene Cernan stepped off the moon in 1972, so we need these fresh approaches to reinvigorate space research.