For those interested in opening up the new frontier of space, space tourism is a subject of intense fascination, for many reasons. It offers us all an opportunity to experience the unending weightlessness, the unsurpassable views from orbit and the transcending perspectives on our fragile planet and its place in the universe--an experience previously available only to a few hundred fortunates. Additionally, it would transform our nation's human spaceflight program from a centrally-commanded bureaucratic one, only for government employees, established during the Cold War to defeat another socialist space program--to one for every citizen, more in keeping with the historical egalitarian and free-market traditions of our nation. But perhaps most importantly, it is fascinating because serving this market could, perhaps uniquely, provide the economies of scale necessary to achieve all the other goals promoted by space enthusiasts for decades past.
The road to this goal may be a long and arduous one, because of many factors described in this brief report. But there are existing, or almost-existing, U.S. and international assets that can shorten and ease the journey. This report will discuss the prospects for utilizing them to: demonstrate the market for; perform market and physiological research on; serve as pathfinders for legal and regulatory impediments to; and start to shift public and institutional opinion on the viability of; this exciting and enabling new application of space technology. Such a study is well in keeping with the Sophron Foundation's chartered goal of promoting the increasing development of useful space activities.