Designing the Orbital Space Tourism Experience

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  • Topic: Space exploration, Human spaceflight, International Space Station
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  • Published : October 5, 2011
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IAC-08-E1.4.6 Introducing the International Astronautic Games: An Innovative Concept for Public Outreach S. Pandya, BSc (Hon), MSc University of Alberta, Canada

ABSTRACT In the half-century since the dawn of the Space Age, it has been the manned space missions that have consistently captured and engaged the general public with their voyages of discovery, adventure and heroism. However, due to the enormous expenses and resources required to carry out such missions, these ventures are typically few and far between, meaning that public engagement and support waxes and wanes. There is, in short, a need for a more cost-effective and continuous manner for engaging the public’s enthusiasm for human space ventures. Enter the “International Astronautical Games,” an outreach concept for highlighting excellence in astronautics and promoting awareness, advancement and international good will with respect to the space sector for a fraction of the cost. Under the Latin motto, “una proficimus” or “together we achieve,” the Games are comparable to a type of “Space-Olympics on Earth”’ Delegates will take part in six categories of competition that embody the spirit of astronautics and space exploration, from athletics to research to sportsmanship. Achievements and advancements in six core categories of space exploration will also be recognized in an awards paradigm similar to the Nobel prize institution. The paper also addresses logistical details associated with the Games, followed by a brief feasibility analysis. By way of conclusion, the paper culminates with a project development chart outlining key goals in each ensuing project phase. FULL TEXT INTRODUCTION Human spaceflight has evolved tremendously over fifty years: astronauts and cosmonauts have graduated from simply reaching space to surviving there for extended periods of time. As a natural extension of these forays into space, entrepreneurs and dreamers alike have set their sights on the untapped potential of space. However, space missions are not easily accomplished, owing to the magnitude of financial investment, resources and time commitment required. Despite these barriers, the Apollo era unequivocally demonstrated that the general public is interested in spaceflight. After all, few undertakings can capture the human imagination than in the same way a manned space mission can. However, public enthusiasm for space escapades remains unfocussed at present: the next big destination in manned spaceflight is the Moon, and each of the major space agencies, including NASA, Russia, India, ESA, Japan, China [1-6], has plans to visit, if not colonize the lunar landscape. At the same time, these celestial sojourns are at least a decade away from reaching fruition. Meanwhile, private enterprises are fuelling a different breed of industry in the form of a commercial space sector to develop space for leisure, tourism and commercial gain; yet this industry, too, remains immature. So how can one reconcile the public thirst for spatial adventure with the reality of the astronomical costs and lengthy maturation periods of the developing private and public space sectors?

The answer lies in engaging the public to support events that draw on the same sense of wonder, grandeur and adventure invoked by space travel, but that invoke only a fraction of the resources and costs. To that end, we present the International Astronautic Games (IAG), an event designed to celebrate and advance human capacity in celestial knowledge, adventure and good will. Taking inspiration from two of the most wellknown international institutions of human achievement, the Nobel Prize Foundation and the Olympic games, the IAG consist of a series of research and competition-based events driven by a five-fold mission: • To capture and engage the public imagination in space exploration; To introduce the next generation of space activities; To advance humanity’s space-faring capabilities; To further human...
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