The Anticipated Futures of Space Tourism

Mark R. Johnson*, Daryl Martin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines the development of the ‘space tourism’ industry, a concept which primarily denotes the development of space technology for recreational or leisure purposes. It will first theoretically locate space tourism with relevant streams of the mobilities literature, primarily research on aeromobilities and tourism mobilities. It will then summarise existing literature on space tourism, focusing especially on the different models of space tourism that have been proposed and the subtle but important differences between them. The analysis then explores the perceptions of feasibility of space tourism from those within the space sector, the anticipated changes to living these forms of space tourism would bring with them, and the comparisons with existing forms of mobility that are drawn by many in the space sector when attempting to ‘sell’ the value and potential of space tourism. In the final part of the paper, we explore many of the implicit assumptions held by this nascent industry, the uncertain position of the passenger within these conceptions of future space tourism, and identify avenues for future research into this emerging form of mobility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-151
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2016


  • Aeromobilities
  • Competition
  • Space tourism
  • Spaceflight
  • Technological determinism
  • Tourism mobilities

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