Sending “Average” People into Space is Suddenly VERY Popular

By Keith Cowing
September 28, 2000
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Soon there will be tourists...
A deal is being put into place whereby a tourist would fly to/from the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. This deal is under development between Dreamtime and a major US television network. ABC and CBS are known to be interested. Word of this deal came out in a hallway conversation with a Dreamtime representative after a breakfast meeting of the Space Transportation Association in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

Dreamtime signed an agreement with NASA in June 2000 to provide a variety of media services in close cooperation with NASA. The first major implementation of this agreement will be the recording of Soyuz and Space Shuttle launches using HDTV (High Definition Television) cameras later this Fall.

The Dreamtime news comes on the heels of a series of announcements made over the past several months by MirCorp and NBC regarding their $40 million plans to send a tourist to Russia’s Mir space station during the 2001/2002 television season. The NBC deal titled “Destination Mir” is being produced by Mark Burnett, the creator of the surprise CBS summer hit show “Survivor”. The producers are moving ahead swiftly and have now placed a website online whereby people can sign up to be considered for participation in the show.

Just as details of the latest tourist/tv show in space deal started to emerge, the German company Astrium released a report on the feasibility of a space tourism market wherein they project that this market could reach $500 billion in revenues by 2010. Between the long-term market potential for space tourism and the near-term market potential for producing reality TV shows in space, interest in sending non-professional (i.e. “real people) into space is hard to dismiss. The financial backing is certainly starting to appear.

Whether all of these projects actually come to fruition remains to be seen. Mir is well past the end of its planned operational lifetime and requires continual maintenance to stay operational. Recent statements from Russia point to a complete lack of money to keep it operating thus placing the burden squarely on the shoulders of the commercial sector. Meanwhile the ISS, while more or less back on track after a series of successful mission has been plagued by a series of delays over the past several years

Companies and Organizations

  • Destination Mir, NBC

  • MirCorp
  • Dreamtime
  • Spacehab
  • Energiya, Ltd

  • The Space Transportation Association

    Background Information

  • Going Public 2000: “Moving Toward The Development Of A Large Space Travel and Tourism Business, The Space Transportation Association
  • 27 September 2000: The Challenge of Outer Space Tourism: European space company Astrium investigates technical feasibility, Astrium
  • 12 September 2000: NBC Launches Space Odyssey in 2001 With New Reality Drama That Will Select One American to Travel to Mir Space Station, MirCorp
  • 27 September 2000: Dreamtime Delivers Cutting Edge TV Technology, NASA PAO
  • 27 July 2000: Boeing, Khrunichev Propose Commercial Space Module, press release
  • 8 August 2000: RSC Energia and SPACEHAB Announce Agreement with The Russian Aviation and Space Agency for Enterprise Deployment, press release
  • 3 August 2000: Space Media Inc. and RSC Energia Join Forces Forming New Multimedia Partnership, press release
  • 10 July 2000: Kodak To ‘Take Pictures, Further’ Via International Space Station; Watch the Creation of a New “Star”
  • 2 June 2000: NASA Dreamtime Partnership Propels Space Information Age to New Heights
  • 10 December 1999: Spacehab and Energiya Announce Commercial Module for ISS, SpaceRef
  • 10 December 1999: Enterprise Module and Space Station Internet Media Company Will Take Space Commerce to New Heights, SpaceHab

  • SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.