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Abu Dhabi to discuss space tourism future

Abu Dhabi, November 14, 2008

Space experts from around the world will converge in Abu Dhabi to attend the inaugural Global Space Technology Forum to discuss the growing space industry and the future of Space Tourism.

The forum will be held from November 16 to 18 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

It includes a three day conference featuring industry leaders addressing a wide range of topics including forecasts for the global space industry, research and development, and the role of space technology in national defence and security.

Experts see the forum as a timely one as Richard Garriott, the latest member of a select group of ‘space tourists’ has returned from orbit.

Eric Anderson, CEO of Space Adventures, the company behind Garriott’s trip and the only company at present that takes tourists into space, will speak about the importance of space exploration and research on the second day of the Forum.

According to Anderson, space tourism is gaining momentum due to the increased involvement of private companies. “The momentum is building for space tourism, we’ve turned a corner and proven that a market exists for space tourism.

“Space was previously controlled by a small number of governments, and it’s now opening up to the private sector. There’s been a paradigm shift and we’re moving into an era of personal space flight,” said Anderson.

Anousheh Ansari, the fourth private space explorer with Space Adventures and the first of Iranian descent as well as one of the Ansaris behind the famous Ansari X PRIZE, agrees with Anderson:

“Space travel is breaking free of its old bureaucracy, and private industries are bringing entrepreneurship, innovation, and a sustainable approach to space exploration, resulting in a cost effective and safe way of travelling to space.”

“We hoped, and I believe succeeded, with the Ansari X PRIZE to encourage the private sector and hang a sign on the frontiers of space now saying ‘Open for Business!’”

Ansari, CEO and founder of Prodea Systems, a technology company focused on the digital home, will discuss the feasibility of low cost access to space and the steps toward achieving that goal on day three of the forum.

Also joining the conference programme on day three is Stephen Attenborough, commercial director for Virgin Galactic, a company wholly-owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group which is on track to become the world's first passenger carrying commercial spaceline.

Speaking on Virgin Galactic’s vision of the future of space tourism, Attenborough said: “We believe that space will be the ultimate tourism experience for many years to come and that if we are successful with our early sub-orbital flights, the industry will attract major investment in new technology which could enable cost effective and safe orbital travel.”

Nick Webb, director of Streamline Marketing Group, organisers of the event said, “The global space industry is experiencing phenomenal growth as advancements in space technology continue to create new commercial markets and exciting opportunities within the space industry, and for investors and entrepreneurs in non-space related fields.

“Space tourism is taking a massive turn with the growth of private sector interest and contribution. The forum, in its very nature, is an opportunity for investors to get involved in the growing industry and can act as a spring board for private involvement in space exploration,” he added.

The forum is sponsored by Surrey Satellite Technology, Space Adventures, Marsh, and Arianespace.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: future | space tourism | Abu Dhabi forum |

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