Challenges and Opportunities in African Space Tourism

The era of public space travel is approaching faster than most people think, driven by the human desire for adventure, travel and fun, and by the economic motivation for creating a space industry. Before this will happen, advances in engineering, law and policy, and medicine must be made, as well as considering the issues involved in business and management. Public awareness of the possibility must be increased and world-wide excitement about space generated in order to make space tourism a reality.

Africa’s lack of human presence in space, while a tad frustrating to African space agencies, is not for lack of trying. It is in fact very tasking to launch humans into space, and it requires years of research, development, engineering and innovation. It also is extremely expensive. At the moment, most African space agencies do not have the resources to adequately pull this off, particularly with how the funding of space projects has been abysmally low when compared to other space programs globally.

International cooperation is yet another factor that could help Africa’s plans to launch astronauts to space. Already, African space agencies rely heavily on foreign technology to help develop and execute different space-related programs. In establishing a spaceflight-worthy project, technology and human resources from these countries will be quite essential in building a system that works efficiently. It is assumed that the international space community would be enthusiastic to help positively promote African space programs.

While the aim for pursuing space exploration remains the need to meet immediate and long term needs of the African continent, the objectives should be well spelt out to include in its core self-sufficiency and allied technologies required for space exploration, improving livelihoods of citizens across the continent through utilization of space based products and services and industrial competitiveness.

The challenges facing the African continent are fairly general and can be said to include poverty, insecurity, desertification, disease, illiteracy, resource mismanagement, accelerated climate change etc. these problems cut across time zones and regional classifications, thereby making a combined solution to the problems are viable proposition for multiple states to tackle.

When the need for an Africa-wide space agency is considered, global trends must be at the forefront of the adopted strategy for implementation. What is seen in almost every case where nations have begun with state owned and controlled space agencies, they have invariably and ultimately transited to some form of collaboration with privately owned firms and businesses that are beginning to takeover certain aspects of the traditional space technology monopolies. Such partnerships are sometimes drawn up as part of public private partnership (PPP) agreements

Need analysis of the African continent shows there are common challenges spread across wide areas of the continent that are not localized to national borders. Some of these issues include health and disease, security, desertification, drought and water management, information technology, education, which are still begging for answers and viably sustainable solutions that are home grown and repeatable across different countries in Africa. Satellite technology offers an easy and optimal way to meet many of these challenges at reduced cost in the long run. However, satellite technology is expensive and out of the reach of many African nations at this time. This paper has proposed a synergy that will leverage on Africa’s location, size and human resource to create a continent-wide space agency that can serve to meet the identified needs in a process driven and well thought-out way.

Utilizing ESA template for an African Space Agency, recognition must be made of the role played by business and economic cooperation, made possible through the framework of the Economic union of the European Union (EU). This business and monetary union forms an integral component for the actualization of the goals set for ESA. The ability to allow for free trade between participating European nations in the EU is the glue that makes possible a continent wide space agency of shared responsibility and benefits. Therefore, it would seem that Africa is charting a similar trajectory to the EU in terms of greater economic advantages for its people. Africa could as well follow suit with the formation of a continent wide space agency that caters for the needs emanating from such a huge and immensely beneficial agreement. Next, this paper proposes some extra specifics to the structure of the proposed space agency by identifying a possible structural composition of the agency.

Hi @NickOttens, @ErnieRogers, @Jesse_Nyokabi, @Roey, @Shashi, @crointel, @sahoo00, @drjewellmd, @skornik, @bngejane, @tylerbn, What are your thoughts on this topic of Challenges and Opportunities in African Space Tourism? Kindly share your thoughts and remember to up-vote this Breakthrough.


@Visioneer1, @Mlhanlon, @mportka, @nstavros, you may be interested in this proposal as well. Please let us know what you think!


How is Africa’s readiness for space?

@NickOttens Thanks for your kind gesture.

@wanyok Commercial industries have always been on the leading edge of enabling crewed and uncrewed spaceflight. Today, we stand on the brink of the New Space age, dominated by the innovation and drive of international commercial space companies. All across the spectrum of the current space industry, commercial organizations are making their mark and are subsequently defining how the future of space will look for mankind. From nanosatellites to launch vehicles on the upstream, to wide spread applications on the downstream, commercial players around the world are pushing the boundaries of what is considered to be possible and are subsequently inspiring the next generation of space explorers.

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“The US should be getting African nations and others to choose to partner with it, particularly on NASA’s Artemis Accords. These are a set of 10 principles for peaceful cooperation in the growing global flurry of efforts to return to the moon”. (Todd Harrison - Head of CSIS Aerospace Security Project)

@scuzzy In a broad sense, the term space tourism denotes any commercial activity offering customers direct or indirect experience with space travel. A space tourist has been defined as someone who tours or travels into, to, or through space or to a celestial body for pleasure and recreation. The possible space tourist activities include long-term stays in orbital facilities for research or entertainment purposes, short-term orbital or sub-orbital flights, and parabolic flights in aircraft where space tourists are exposed to weightless conditions.

Although space tourism is still in its infancy, it is estimated that the number of space tourists will reach into the hundreds (or, according to Virgin Galactic’s predictions, even into the thousands) within the next few years.

It seems that, in a purely literal sense, space tourists cannot be regarded as astronauts or even personnel of a spacecraft, as they are not trained as specialists on a space mission and their main objective is one of personal pleasure, as opposed to contributing to the interest of mankind. This is, however, not always as simple as it seems, since different categories of space tourists can be identified and most space tourism operators require their passengers to undergo (some) training.

The challenges in applying both air law and outer space law to a single space tourism journey, as was discussed earlier, are especially evident in the context of liability. States thus bear responsibility for their own space activities, as well as for the activities carried out by non-governmental entities that launch space objects from their territories. In addition, the activities of non-governmental entities must be authorized and continuously supervised by the relevant state.

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@mashizaq -
This is valuable information, but it may be a little difficult for people to read in this format. I took the liberty of summarizing the challenges you raised as follows -

  1. Nobody knows yet how to categorize space tourists (astronauts? Spacecraft personnel?), and therefore prepare them to the journey ahead.

  2. Not enough public awareness.

  3. Launching humans to space is extremely expensive, so that only a select few can become space tourists.

  4. The infrastructure needed to launch people to space is extremely expensive, and African countries will find it very difficult to come up with it and maintain it properly.

  5. The need for international cooperation, that could help fill in the gaps in African countries space-related knowledge and technologies.

  6. The African continent is plagued with “poverty, insecurity, desertification, disease, illiteracy, resource mismanagement, accelerated climate change, etc.” All these can deter companies from erecting the needed infrastructure in Africa.

  7. Legal challenges regarding the context of liability in case of accidents.

Did I summarize it correctly?


@Roey Thank you for your support and for putting up such a nice summary. All your statements above are correct and true to my words.


Please vote for this challenge (find the vote button in the upper-left, next to the discussion title) if you think this is a challenge XPRIZE can and should focus on!

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XPRIZE can and should focus on this Challenge. VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

I voted, I voted :smiley:

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@Roey Thanks for your support and for voting for our Challenge. Kindly share widely. We need the votes.

Opportunities for Africa:
Space In Africa, Africa’s foremost space media outfit, recently signed a partnership with Space For Humanity, also known as S4H, an international non-profit human spaceflight programme.

Space for Humanity programme will select citizen astronauts from diverse backgrounds who are uniquely qualified to share their experiences with their broader communities and the world. The Colorado-based non-profit believes that through group experience and a diverse selection process, this can help many more people understand the positive value of space exploration and why we must look after “Spaceship Earth”.

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Defining Space Tourism
Space tourism is space travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes.

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“From my perspective as a space policy analyst, I see the beginning of an era in which more people can experience space. With companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin hoping to build a future for humanity in space, space tourism is a way to demonstrate both the safety and reliability of space travel to the general public”.

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While Africa is currently faced with many difficulties and challenges, we can capitalise on space technologies to address our Socioeconomic problems, while building the Africa We Want.

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@Basia What do you see as the #challenges-and-opportunities facing Space tourism from an African perspective?

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The importance of TOURISM in Kenya. What more would a Space-based Tourism venture do to the same country?

“The operationalization of Lamu port will transform regional tourism and hospitality activities through increased trade, integration and connectivity,”

“The project will also grow the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by at least 3 %. This will help boost tourism, trade and local livelihood along the coast and beyond,”

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