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Case Title:

Space Tourism: The Sky is Not the Limit

Publication Year : 2006

Authors: Sagar Chakravarthy, Bharathi S Gopal

Industry: Leisure and Tourism

Region:USA

Case Code: IPD0032B

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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Abstract:
On 12th April 1961, Yuri Gagarin (Russian Astronaut) travelled to space and etched out his name in the annals of history books forever. For the next forty years space travel was only confined to astronauts. In April 2001, American businessman, Dennis Tito became the first civilian traveller to pay $20 million for a trip to space. In April 2002, South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth, became the second commercial space tourist.

These events initiated the discussions on space tourism and opened the doors for further flights by customers. These trips marked the beginning of what could be a lucrative 21st century industry. There were already several space tourism companies planning to build suborbital vehicles and orbital destinations within the next two decades. These companies had invested millions, believing that the space tourism industry was on the verge of taking off.

Analysts felt that it was too early to conceive a burgeoning market for space tourism. It was important to understand the size of the future space market, the growth potential of the market and customer characteristics of the market.

Analysts had conflicting opinion on the success of space tourism. Some opined that a successful venture and new market were at the threshold. In the years to come, mankind would take yet another gigantic step by commercialising the space arena. They saw a potential impact of public space travel on the aerospace industry, the tourism and hospitality industries, and in the countries where public space travel organizations would be located. They further envisioned that by the end of the century, there would be thousands of common people who would witness the charm of seeing the earth from the space and explored the enigmatic space beyond.

On the other hand, some other analysts opined that space tourism would fall flat after the initial zeal and innovative efforts on grounds of extreme high cost and sustainability of the industry. They thought that unlike aeroplane, which remained an indispensable means of transport even after accidents, the spaceplane would suffer serious jolts and cause ruination of the industry if some accidents occurred in the future.

The coming years would only tell whether a market beyond the blue sky existed or not.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the advancements in space tourism.

Keywords : Space Tourism; Dennis Tito; Space market; Subtorial Space Travel; Orbital Space Travel; Innovation Management Case Study; Price factor; Revenue forecast; Commercial space Venture; Virgin Galactic; Space challenges

Contents:

  • Background Note
  • The Space Market
    • Suborbital Space Travel
    • Orbital Space Travel
  • The Price Factor
  • The Cost Factor for the Space Travel
  • The Commercial Space Ventures
    • Ansari X Prize

    • Virgin Galactic
    • Rocketplane Kistler
    • Blue Origin
    • Bigelow Aerospace
    • Hilton-Space Island Group
  • Challenges
  • The Trajectory Ahead

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