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Re: starship-design: Infrastructure in space [was: FTL travel...]

> > What are your concerns about space tourism?  Its currently
> > the mostlikely
> > reason to develop major space launch infastructure and
> > orbital facilities?
> We don't have any concerns - it is the investors who have the concerns. The
> companies developing the low cost reusable launchers avoid even mentioning
> that word in front of potential investors. Beats me, I think you are right
> and that tourism will be one of the biggest markets.
> Lee

Two things here . . .

First, about tourism, of a specific type, namely human powered (self-powered)
flight in zero or low gee. To me, just going up into orbit or to an orbiting
station wouldn't really hold that much drawing power; there's a lot of
inconvenience with peculiar plumbing, etc, and to just sit around (or float
around) and look out the windows wouldn't be worth it -- it's a _passive_
experience, like watching TV. But to fly like a bird -- I've had dreams of
flying, and of all the dreams I've ever had, I recall all of my flying dreams
and forgot most of the rest. I think most people have had such dreams. If it
were possible, if this experience were actually available, I would cheerfully
spend every cent I could scrape together to go and do it, and I'm sure I'd have
to get in a _long_ line for my turn.

I read a description once of how this could be done; the equipment is simple,
but you need a _very_ large open volume; very expensive to make, but this is
something I'm sure would sell, and you sure won't get it down here. Has anyone
considered approaching investors with this idea? We need some Madison-avenue
types on our side here.

Second, about investors and investment in general. The Commercial Space
Transportation Study lays out the hard numbers, and it's difficult to argue
such stuff, but think about it -- startup capital doesn't always flow to the
folks who make the most sense. Look at the dot-com stock mania lately for an
example; people were throwing money frantically at outfits which lost
consistently for years, and even some who issued their IPO's with the caveat
that they didn't expect to be profitable. This proves that emotion often
overpowers reason in financial matters, and of course, it's obvious elsewhere.

So maybe what we need is a really great sales pitch, spread on the internet,
with glitzy special-effects simulations and such. Sell chances to fly like a
bird. Has anyone thought of trying this?