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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Space migration? Space tourism has yet to arrive

Blue Origin's New Shepherd launch vehicle. (Public domain photo)

While we wait for the space migration part of SMI2LE to really get going, Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution notes that predictions of 100,000 tourists in space a year have yet to come true. Space travel still isn't safe enough, he notes: 

"Overall, rockets still look very unsafe. Is anyone surprised? Blue Origin, for example has had 1 total failure in 22 flights, 4.5%. SpaceX has by far the best record with–generously not including test flights–1 total failure in 289 Falcon flights, .34%. That’s great and especially impressive given that Falcon flies much higher than other rockets! But wingsuit flying, no one’s ideas of a safe sport, is still safer than a SpaceX flight! (.2%) and commercial airlines are running at many orders of magnitude safer at .00034%.

"Thus, after 20 years, I don’t see much reason to update. Like climbing Mount Everest or wingsuit flying, we might see a few flights a year catering to the rich and foolhardy but we have a long way to get before we get fat guys with cameras in space."

More here. 


michael said...

I've been following the science of human physiology and space for around 15 years. Solving the problems will be a lot like solving cancer: we are making progress, but we have a long way to go. And, yea: the scientific problems are fantastic and lead to all kinds of knowledge, a lot of it unforeseen.

The physiological problems to be overcome so we can live in space like thousands of fictional narratives depict is going to take a long, long time.

I suspect most people have very little appreciation for how hairy the human physiology-in-space problem is.

Here's a recent article on this:

quackenbush said...

Space mining is where its at.