4 The Next Space Race CITIZEN SPACEFLIGHT (“SPACE TOURISM”) AND SPACE SERVICES The success and technological prowess of commercial space companies— such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic—has led to the emergence of space tourism. SpaceX made history in September 2021 by sending a crew of four private astronauts into orbit aboard the company’s Crew Dragon capsule.15 Blue Origin sent its founder, Jeff Bezos,16 and celebrities such as NFL Hall of Famer Michael Strahan17 and Star Trek star William Shatner18 to suborbital space in 2021 as well. Additionally, Virgin Galactic launched its founder, Richard Branson, to suborbital space in July 2021.19 Thanks to the efforts of these companies, their future initiatives, and the commercial space sector more broadly—together with the development of reusable rockets— the global space tourism industry is poised to grow considerably over the next decade.20 While precise estimates vary, the value of the space tourism market in 2020 was assessed at $651 million, according to Global Industry Analysts Inc.21 UBS estimates that the space tourism market is expected to reach $4 billion by 2030.22 The growth of space tourism will lead to truly revolutionary develop- ments for humanity in space, such as the construction of private space stations (“space hotels”), which will potentially allow people to vacation Figure 1.1 Space Economy, 2020–2060 Estimates *xGEO =outer space beyond Earth orbit Source: Milky Way Economy.
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