The Federal Aviation Administration said on Wednesday it feels that space tourism will exceed $1 billion within the next 10 years. The FAA’s director for the office of commercial space said the Obama Administration was preparing for the space tourism industry to grow over the next decade.
Spaceships and rocket planes to carry space travelers beyond the earth’s atmosphere are being constructed and tested. The hope is that commercial flights will be available sometime between 2013 and 2014.
“The industry is in its infant stage but based on studies in the industry, the size of this should exceed $1 billion within the decade,” said George Nield the FAA’s associate administrator for the Office of Commercial Space Travel.
Most expect the boom to start in 2012. Orbital Sciences Corp and SpaceX, two privately owned companies have been hired by NASA to fly cargo to the $100 billion research laboratory known as the International Space Station that orbits some 240 miles from Earth. The two contracts combined, are worth over $3.5 billion.
A trial run scheduled by SpaceX for April 30 is being prepared. Elon Musk, an entrepreneur, owns the company.
In addition, companies are planning commercial flights that will reach as high as 62 miles above Earth. That altitude exposes air travelers to moments of weightlessness and an incredible view of Earth.