“It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll.”
– AC / DC
One of the many afflictions that besiege any intelligent species in the Universe is the urge to expand their territorial domain. This, of course, includes adventures in outer space. We humans are no different. However, space travel and tourism are currently the birthright of various governments and millionaires, for only these entities have the Right $tuff to accomplish the seemingly impossible. This most unfortunate axiom is the reason why commercial spaceflight has not yet fully become a reality.

This blueprint presents one possible solution to that dilemma.

Tourism will be the number one industry in the upcoming multi–trillion dollar outer space market while simultaneously helping to boost other industries and markets, including science. Tourism can and will pay for space; all that is lacking is the infrastructure and the will to do it. This blueprint describes how to use contemporary ideas, technology, and materials to provide a lowcost presence in Earth orbit and the Moon. We even discuss how to fund our adventures!

Critics say that there does not exist a flock of tourists spending gobs of money going to Antarctica for a vacation, and it's a lot cheaper to get there than flying to the lunar surface, which is just as extreme and desolate. So why would anyone pay to go to the Moon?

One answer to this question is the Overview Effect. It is an apples–to–oranges comparison; there is nothing really exciting to see or experience in Antarctica, except lots of whiteness and cold. On the Moon, they get to see the Earth as the fragile, beautiful, and awe-inspiring “Christmas Tree ornament" as Jim Lovell articulated. Their lunar surroundings will be a "magnificent desolation" as Buzz Aldrin described. That's the difference between Antarctica and the Moon. The Overview Effect is probably not going to happen in Antarctica, but it's a sure bet it will happen in space.

We can even hope these millionaires come back having a newfound respect for "the good Earth," as Frank Borman said with joy while orbiting the Moon. It was once said that Apollo 8 went to the Moon and discovered Earth. Maybe space tourism will be similar?


Once we have a permanent location in space, science will surely follow. But tourism will always lead the way.

A Single–Stage–To–Orbit (SSTO) reusable Reentry Vehicle (RV) design from the late 1990s modernized with present–level technology will carry hardware into space. A bustling spaceport oasis will emerge from the middle of a desert, complete with manufacturing plants, control towers, runways, launch pads, propellant storage, training facilities, etc., all powered using a vast array of solar panels. The program will eventually comprise space hotels, space tugs, and lunar landings at a lunar base. Different hardware components will be interchangeable and connect universally to each other, making spaceflight operations easier and more efficient.

The Orbital Vehicle (OV) design, which includes propellant tanks and a rocket engine with a nozzle extension, lends itself to variants that can accomplish different specific tasks. For example, the Propellant Module (PM) variant is simply the OV without a rocket engine. The Utility Vehicle (UV) space tug variant is the OV without the rocket engine and propellant tanks. The Cislunar Vehicle (CV) variant is a stretched version of the OV. The Lunar Vehicle (LV) lander variant is the OV without the nozzle extension and includes landing legs. These variants will not only simplify and reduce the costs of the design and testing of these vehicles, but also aid in the ease of spaceflight operations.

Cryogenic propellant for the spaceliners back on Earth will be produced by bringing fresh water in from a nearby coast using a pipeline and using power from solar panels for electrolysis and liquefaction. SSTO RVs will carry cargo into an orbital altitude that will assure regularly scheduled flights to a permanent space station, which will house its crew and tourists. The orbital station will be the launch point for various sorties, including missions involving science, but mostly, tourism. The station will also refurbish spacesuits and crew modules and spacecraft for reuse by the crew and tourists alike.

Free–flying platforms will provide invaluable and profitable science products. For example, the electrophoresis process in a microgravity environment can easily produce pure proteins for medical uses. The same environment aides in the growth of large crystals for use in electronics. As the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has shown, a medium–sized mirror in space can produce spectacular scientific results. With several HST–style telescopes in orbit, the process of Aperture Synthesis can be used to peer even further into the abyss.

The list of science spin–offs that are realistically achievable (and profitable) is virtually endless.

But before any sortie can take place from the station, cryogenic propellant replenishment of orbital spacecraft must become simple, safe, and routine. The plan calls for a propellant replenishment module to fit into the payload bay of the RRV. The module will rendezvous and dock with an orbital spacecraft, then use sump pumps to transfer three cryogenic substances: Liquid Hydrogen (fuel), Liquid Oxygen (oxidizer), and Liquid Nitrogen (oxidizer tank pressurization). The module is then returned to Earth for refurbishment and refill and returned to orbital space for reuse. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The moment spaceship propellant tanks can be easily refilled, flights into cislunar space will become just as routine as flights into space. Crews will eventually land on the Moon. Once on the lunar surface, a base will be set up near the lunar equator for easy access. The philosophy of In–Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) can then be implemented to process regolith using electrolysis to separate oxygen, aluminum, silicon, nitrogen, and other materials. The oxygen will be liquefied to be used as a rocket engine oxidizer. By combining the liquid oxygen with liquid hydrogen fuel imported from Earth, a fairly easy process for propellant replenishment on the lunar surface will be achieved. Meanwhile, waste aluminum and silicone will eventually be used to build shelters and other structures at a vastly reduced cost. Additionally, scientists and tourists will have a place to stay and will fly sorties to interesting lunar destinations. Before long, flights to the ice fields in the permanently–shadowed craters at the South Pole will occur, where rovers will use microwave devices to collect ice and use electrolysis to separate the hydrogen and oxygen, thus finally providing a source of propellant independent of Earth.


Realistic science fiction movies will serve as our vision. The concepts of hardware reuse and commonality will be our inspiration. Refilling cryogenic propellant tanks in space will be our driving force. ISRU will be our guiding principle. The first lunar landing will be accomplished within 3,000 days, which just happens to be about the same amount of time between President Kennedy’s speech calling us forward to the Moon and Armstrong’s famous words reverberating from Tranquility Base into the beyond. If they can do it, so can we.

It may be a long way to the top of the space and cislunar tourism industry, but using established designs from engineering companies in the past, coupled with present–level technology and materials, the payoff will be just as high. It is a win–win scenario for everyone: the next generation of potential future space travelers get to be inspired and we get to make space history. Our argument thusly becomes: wouldn’t it be nice to make a little money while doing all that inspiring and space history–making?