EADS Space Tourism Plan Discussion in ISU

June 19, 2007

The ISU 07 community are always keeping in touch with everyone about the recent space news. Last week was about ISS losing its power, we keep emailing/spaming each other about the progress until the day it is back on line and then one of our friend who is doing an intern in EADS emailed us about EADS plan to join the space tourism race.

It quickly get the news going

Here are the E-mail

Magda ( EADS)
If you haven’t heard yet EADS Astrium are looking to go into competition with SpaceShip Two with their own version of space tourism. Article with cool pics: http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,488559,00.html

Ahmet ( SES)
After I heard the EADS interest in space tourism, I and John started a big discussion on the predicted scenarios and possible market and I built a quick Excel sheet

to see economical viability of the project. It is a simple one built in 5 min but it works.


I really don’t think it is a feasible project. But i guess this is a strategic move for EADS to attract more attention to other issues after I would say collapsing of A-380 Project by ending up with over budget and overtime than actually planned. They are in the process of firing people because of this project. And the first quarter financial numbers of EADS is very interesting, they made 10 billion revenues for Q1 of this year but only 10 million net profit which is nothing. And recently the management were highly criticized by shareholders in the general assembly about these issues both A-380 and financial figures.

They may want to get more attraction from public and also I remind John Logsdon analysis about how US Space Shuttle program started. “Engineers need a toy to play after Apollo missions” after A-380 EADS needs a strategic project in order to survive.

Maybe this analogy is a bit too pessimistic about space tourism but still has some true in it.

The EADS president’s speech about Virgin Galactic saying “Some of the guys think that they can build s/c in their garage” doesn’t seem like nice and moreover it is not fair. Their market research of 15000 passangers by 2020 seems to be too optimistic as well. They are announcing these kind of things that sounds interesting but i really don’t think they are realistic. It again reminds me the space tourism market researches that was done in Germany, Japan and some other places which predicts thousands of passangers for 2000s.

John and I played on the Excel sheet a lot and discussed these issues on our 1,5 h journeys back to home from SES.

space tourism guys if you want to play and extend the sheet, have a look.

BTW, I really want to see comments on EADS initiative on space tourism who are particularly interested in the issue in their internships.



Dimi ( JPL )
Hello business team,

I kind of agree it is a move to stay in contact with the other side of Atlantic in space tourism and private spaceflight etc, but:

Why is A380 a collapsing project?? There are problems, but don’t you cannot say it’s collapsing. It’s a huge project with lots of innovations and a LOT MORE financial risk and investment than any space tourism toy we are discussing for a year now in ISU (@250M/plane they need sth like 200 planes or more to break even, check the figures online). Don’t compare government money like Apollo and shuttle with industrial-private ventures like EADS, or any other. The first works for the good of society (whatever) the second for profit and shareholders (Yes EADS is owened by 25-30% by french state but again…). When A350 didn’t work in the market as initially planed Airbus redesigned it as A350XWB and re-launched it taking huge risk while rival Boeing had already 500+ orders for the rival B787. What did NASA do when people started saying that shuttle this and shuttle that and ISS this ISS that.. Outreach and T-Shirts and movies!!! 🙂

Do you think a space tourism rocket will save EADS if A380 ‘collapses’?? The fact that airbus is loosing ground is known for 2-3 years now, after Boeing was in the same position while airbus was thriving. Boeing restructured and that is what airbus is doing now.. It’s just that the by big percentage government owned airbus (you know how French are), employees unions, inflexible in laying-off European way of business, makes the whole process more difficult and sound worse than it is. At least that is my opinion from what I read here and there.

The Master 07 shows that even we are all over the world we still can keep in touch with each other even on the latest news . So i hope all the alumni too can use the ISU talk and News to keep us updated about the and join the discussion

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  1. Hello MSS07,

    There is a lot that can be said, positive and negative, about EADS’ announcement – even though it has been a while I have been looking at this topic, I cannot say I am too enthusiastic about the whole concept and presentation style by EADS; though they can afford it! Without even looking at the Airbus analogy, their biggest issue is to convince the Ariane lobby that 1BEuro will go to some new development program – no surprise the EU has already expressed concerns. All in all the marketing collateral has been fairly negative and it does not help the “fragile” cause of space commercialisation…

    Food for thought…

  2. http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2007/06/21/215010/space-jets-turbofans-can-cope-with-vacuum-says-eads.html

    Another link for engineers (and for businessmen cause if the engineer cannot make it in time and budget the business man is ruined :-))

    they plan to use Liquid oxygen-methane engine. For history, NASA’s LSAM was supposed to have this type of propellant but was dropped out because of technology readiness status. I’m lazy to look up details about European research in this, if anyone has let me know.
    i hope the propulsion study is not made by some technology freak.

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