space tourism course challenges future business leaders to innovate and collaborate | Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Space tourism expert Dr Robert Goehlich and faculty member at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s global campus, recalls hearing predictions that commercial suborbital spacecraft built to accommodate tourists on short trips outside Earth’s atmosphere would be ready for launch in just one year. . It was two decades ago. The anticipation surrounding this industry has never been insufficient – but, he said, with Virgin Galactic now close to completing construction of its second commercial spacecraft, the wait is almost over.
“It is, of course, a big change, not only to have the vision to standardize space tourism, but the objective to make it a reality,” Goehlich said.
In preparation for this change in the industry, which will make spaceflight available to civilians instead of specially trained astronauts, Goehlich designed an EagleVision course offered by the College of Business at Embry-Riddle Worldwide. One of the main building blocks of the class is an interactive simulation of the space tourism market covering various industry disciplines including economics, rocket engineering, design, law, ethics, art, etc. Students take on the role of eight different positions within the market, such as commercial spacecraft operator, tourist, marketing agency, etc. Goehlich designs scenarios for the students to work on. Each scenario requires research, collaboration, team meetings, and innovative problem solving by students. It also brings in guest speakers each quarter – past guests included Alan Ladwig, former director of the NASA Space Flight Participant Program, and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata.
Dr Robert Goehlich lectured on space tourism while teaching at Keio University in Japan. (Photo: Robert Goehlich)
“Sometimes students only take a course because they need credit, but with this course many are just fascinated by the topic,” he said.
The estate also continues to inspire and motivate Goehlich. In addition to the exploration opportunities offered by space tourism, it foresees sustainability benefits.
“Because the development and maintenance costs are so high, reusable systems only work with high annual launch operations,” he said.
However, as space tourism continues to emerge and civilian space travel becomes routine, investments will be shifted towards reusable rockets. Launching a single satellite will no longer require the use and disposal of a single rocket.
“It’s a big waste, but with reusable systems we don’t have that problem,” Goehlich said.
Making the course available through video conferencing technology could also help popularize the field of study by expanding its availability around the world, helping to develop the next generation of workers in the industry, said Goehlich, who also teaches the fields of study. space missions and launch operations, as well as Space Housing and Life Support Systems, through Worldwide’s College of Aeronautics.
“It’s a tremendous technological opportunity,” he said. “Students can enroll from anywhere in the world: one in France, one in the US and I can teach the class from Germany. ”
Ultimately, however, Goehlich’s agenda aims to embrace progress, both on a micro and macro scale. By focusing on project management and operations, the course enables students to envision a safer, more environmentally friendly, and more affordable marketplace, as described in the manual that Goehlich wrote for the course, Space tourism manual.
In addition, space tourism is an industry that requires workers with increasingly sophisticated technical, commercial, political and legal talents, according to Dr Maneesh Sharma, dean of the Worldwide Campus College of Business.
“Courses like Professor Goehlich’s play an important role in building enthusiasm and energy around this industry,” he said. “By exposing students to the different functional areas of space tourism in this course, Embry-Riddle plays a critical role in helping to prepare future leaders in this industry.”
Once prepared, these leaders will strive to make recreational space travel a reality and, with them, achieve greater global connectivity.
“The chance to go into space is becoming a reality for a much larger population, and I see the great benefit in that,” Goehlich said. “People who travel in space have a much broader view of the Earth as a whole. I think that for the company, it is an advantage for the development of humanity.
Learn more about space tourism and Dr. Goehlich’s goals for his course.
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