UAE to host forum on space tourism
Manama, February 23, 2011
Abu Dhabi is all set to host the third annual Global Space and Satellite Forum (GSSF) from May 9 to 11.
The plethora of opportunities for private and public sector investors throughout the region that exist in the commercial space and satellite industry will be examined during the event.
With many aspects of commercial space and satellite services continuing to make giant strides, it is highly appropriate that Abu Dhabi should be hosting one of the leading international space and satellite conferences.
'Those involved in space tourism are looking towards the Middle East for further funding,' according to GSSF Streamline Marketing Group organiser Nick Webb.
'Virgin Galactic and Bigelow Aerospace have already set up investment deals with UAE groups and perhaps it's only a matter of time before we see another international space company's development being funded from the Middle East.'
At the moment, the cost of a return ticket to outer space for the first flights stands between $95,000 and $200,000, depending on the flight provider, but these prices will fall as capacity increases. Some experts estimate that the typical price to fly into space by 2030 will be around $25,000.
'Even if we take a conservative estimate of the market size to be around 250,000 to 300,000 people travelling into space by 2030, we're looking at an industry worth up to $7.5 billion,' said Webb.
One US-based company that is making great strides in development is XCOR Aerospace, which will be presenting an update of its commercial space flight vehicle The Lynx and the opportunities that exist for investors to become involved.
With Lynx commercial operations starting in 2012 and production deliveries starting later the following year, XCOR, has already signed two memorandums of understanding for the wet lease of Lynx vehicles, representing more than $50 million of back orders.
The first two customers are Yecheon Astro Space Centre of South Korea and Netherlands-based Space Experience Curacao (SXC).
The Curacao agreement will see SXC market and XCOR operate, suborbital space tourism and scientific research flights out of Space Port Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has signed on to co-market SXC flights and include them in their frequent flyer programme.-TradeArabia News Service