Who Will Cater to Outer-Space Vacationers?

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Once they figure out how to get you there, who's going to see to your every need, making your vacation in outer space comfortable and enjoyable?

“It will be an RIT grad,” promises Francis Domoy, professor and chair of hospitality and service management at Rochester Institute of Technology, which offers the only university-level course in space tourism development.

RIT continues to lead the way in the futuristic, but not so far off, business of commercial space tourism. The class and other related courses under development at RIT will prepare students to manage outer-space resorts, which could be a reality before the end of the decade.

“RIT is one of the most forward-thinking universities in the country,” says Gene Meyers, founder and president of West Covina, Calif.-based Space Island Group Inc., which plans an outer-space, mixed-use real-estate development venture by 2007.

“By the end of the first decade of the new century, tourism and large-scale commercial manufacturing opportunities in space will be spectacular,” Meyers predicts.

For the first time, Meyers will unveil details of his plan in a presentation at RIT on Feb. 6. He expects educational collaborations, like the one with RIT, along with technological and business partnerships, to lead to fruition for his out-of-this-world blockbuster. And he sees RIT and RIT graduates in starring roles.

At RIT, Meyers will discuss space-facility construction, potential commercial, entertainment and tourism uses, outer-space employment opportunities, financing and sponsorship possibilities, and safety concerns.

Space Island Group’s first shuttle launch is anticipated in 2004 with completion of the firm's first space station three years later. Meyers says space stations, to be privately financed, will closely resemble the appearance of the space station in the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

So what if filmmaker Stanley Kubrick was off by a few years? RIT graduates will be ready to greet outer-space tourists no matter when they float by.

Note: Members of the media are invited to attend the presentation by Space Island Group Inc. founder and president Gene Meyers, 4–6 p.m. Feb. 6, Xerox Auditorium, James E. Gleason Building, Rochester Institute of Technology campus.

The presentation is sponsored by RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology.