The new millennium was accompanied by the nascent era of a new and exciting industry unprecedented in the human experience: space tourism. We have witnessed in this past decade the emergence of the space tourism industry which has been characterized by the frenetic proliferation of companies whose aim is to develop reusable launch vehicles intended to provide voyages to suborbital space. The space tourism industry enjoyed the benefits of a stable economy for the better part of the past decade which allowed and encouraged an expectation of success on the part of both the industry participants i.e. the developers of the vehicles, and the target market, or the space tourists. Consequently, the literature regarding this industry has evolved into a genre typified by positive expectation and enthusiastic advocacy. While this characteristic is somewhat desirable as a driver for the space tourism market, it lacks the necessary and appropriate objectivity needed for a realistic and ultimately supportive assesment of the industry.
Unfortunately, the burgeoning economy which permitted such enthusiastic expectations for the space tourism market no longer exists. The drastic change in the economy is sure to impact the evolution of at least some parts of the space tourism market. Because of this change in the market and the impact that this change could have on the evolution of space tourism, this publication comes at a useful and critical time. Now is the time for an objective critique of the industry and the solicitation of helpful and creative solutions for obstacles that the industry is facing or might face in the future.
This publication does exactly that: it objectively and critically evaluates the space tourism industry and it then proposes both helpful solutions and tactics to implement those solutions intended to address industry impediments. This is primarily an academic endeavor: it critiques space tourism from different perspectives. Dirk Gibson has extensively researched the topic and provides a lengthy repertoire of sources and citations that ensure a thorough grasp of, and background in, the industry. This eBook is divided into two main sections. In the first part, Gibson provides a fairly traditional evaluation of the arguments for and against the activity of space tourism. However this evaluation is distinct because the purely academic dialectic is devoid of the characteristic advocacy of previous attempts. Gibson provides academic objectivity and emotional uninvolvement that many of this publication’s predecessors are lacking in.
The second part of the eBook renders this publication even more of an anomaly from other publications of this genre. Gibson utilizes his background in public relations to develop and propose a series of "strategic communication solutions to the major obstacles facing space tourism". Again, Gibson engages in an objective and critical academic approach; suggesting solutions that the space tourism industry can utilize as a community for overcoming the many obstacles that it faces in being embraced and supported by the general public. Gibson identifies a numerous list of impediments that the industry faces or could face; followed by a corresponding list of solutions aimed at removing those impediments. He then discusses and critiques these solutions and their possible efficacy. Lastly, Gibson identifies some tactics for implementing these solutions. The net results of this process renders (insert title) an objective and eclectic investigation into the domain of space tourism, and a potential resource for industry participants.
It is an honor to be writing the forward to this publication. I find it poignant and serendipitous that emerging out of New Mexico are two premier features that will support and promote the space tourism industry: the Spaceport of America, and this publication by Dirk Gibson.
Greco Law Group, in Las Vegas
This eBook explores the benefits of a commercial space tourism industry and describes the contemporary state of development in 2012. In addition, the impediments to space tourism enterprise are identified and documented. My central purpose is to describe strategic communication solutions to space tourism industrial impediments through consideration of salient strategic communication functions and tactics.
The initial chapter discusses the potential benefits of a space tourism industry. In the second chapter the case is made that contemporary space tourism efforts should be considered as significant, while the third chapter presents the contrary position, that commercial space tourism is currently insignificant. The contradictory cases and factual basis for both chapters are presented to document the complexity and equivocal nature of current space tourism activity, as well as future industrial uncertainty.
The impediments and obstacles to development of commercial space tourism are the subject of the second section of this eBook. Chapter four quantifies primary impediments to space tourism such as investment insufficiency and space dangers. Secondary obstacles include legal issues and insurance and are presented in chapter five.
The third part of the eBook discusses the purposes behind space tourism strategic communication. The sixth chapter notes that space tourism enterprises may not develop, and suggests strategic communication solutions. Primary strategic communication functions or purposes are discussed in chapter seven and chapter eight covers the secondary functions. These communication functions address the obstacles to commercial space tourism industrial development.
Tactics, the focus of the final part of this work, are the building-blocks of strategic communication. The most typical space tourism strategic communication tactics like partnerships and media releases are the subject of chapter nine with the midincidence tactics explored in the ninth chapter. The occasional and atypical tactics are quantified in chapter ten, where the tactics are also categorized by channel variables.
It should be noted that a very recent development might dramatically alter the commercial space tourism status quo. In late May of 2012 a commercial space firm named SpaceX successfully replenished the ISS, under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA. The Dragon capsule may alter the previous reality of commercial space access.
Dirk C. Gibson
University of New Mexico
Member of National Space Society
Department of Communication & Journalism
List of Contributors
Dirk C. Gibson
University of New Mexico