Commercial spaceflights definitely fall under the category of new business ideas. As a term it has several meanings, in a broad sense it applies to any commercially orientated spaceflight. This could include satellite launches or repairs, transporting astronauts and space tourism. Although the idea of spaceflight is far from new, the monetisation of spaceflights in a non industrial sense is a relatively new business idea. The most promising new business ideas to emerge from commercial spaceflight businesses tend to be in the space tourism industry.
Space tourism is a relatively new concept which first emerged in 2004, on June 21st 2004 the personal space craft SpaceShipOne had its first test voyage. This was the first ever spaceflight of a vehicle that was privately developed and operated. SpaceShipOne has been licensed to a subsidiary company of the Virgin group called Virgin Galactic. Virgin Galactic intends to offer personal civilian space excursions for the purpose of tourism. It is hard to estimate the viability or volume of this market, seen as how it has never been established in any form before. Initial flights are said to be costing around $200,000 and so it is not an affordable concept for most people. Any customers that do engage in the early days of space tourism will certainly be “early adopters” when it comes to consumer classification. It is likely that only those with an extreme vetted interest or a near limitless supply of wealth will engage in the early days of space tourism. The market is however attracting additional interest from companies other than Virgin Galactic. XCOR Aerospace is cited to have taken an interest in suborbital spaceflight on a commercial basis. When they are going to publically enter the market and offer services is however yet to be seen.
There are also future concepts which are still only new potential business ideas and not any form of reality. Obviously when it comes to commercial spaceflight some of the business ideas will be plausible, some will be purely theoretical and some completely unviable. Some new potential business ideas for spaceflight in the future include asteroid mining and gathering energy from space. Asteroid mining in itself has several possibilities. It could be the extraction of water and minerals to sustain the lives of astronauts. Other possibilities include mining for precious metals on a large scale from asteroids. Other accounts cite that there could be feasible quantities of hydrogen to be mined for rocket fuel. There has yet to be any technological developments or efforts to attempt the commercial mining of asteroids. The process is still theoretical.
It is currently an interesting balance between commercialism and government funded research when it comes to space usage. Over time the balance is becoming less weighted in favour of government funding of space programs. This balance is likely to increase more towards the commercial side of space exploration in terms of money spent as time goes on. There are many new business ideas to come in the field of commercial spaceflight.