Lower Expectations

Lower Expectations: The prospects are “promising” that US providers of suborbital space launches can carve out a stable market niche, said Pamela Melroy, a former astronaut, who is currently a senior technical advisor in the FAA’s office of commercial space transportation. Speaking at AFA’s Air & Space Conference outside Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18, Melroy said she sees a larger market for suborbital launches—beyond just space tourism—for purposes like education and scientific research. She thinks the suborbital market has the potential for $600 million to $1.6 billion in business over next 10 years. While the United States has lost its market share of commercial space launches for orbital missions due to more affordable offshore launch providers, she hopes that the same will not happen in the suborbital realm.