Project Description

Most sectors requiring a relatively high upfront investment have started off as public, often military funded projects. A typical example is the development of the commercial aeronautical sector with some similarities but also important differences compared to the space sector. Starting with early flights in 1897 performed by Clement Adler (but kept secret due to military financing) the first flights that can be considered as a milestone in aviation took place in Kitty Hawk on 17 December 1903 by the Wright Brothers, also under a military contract, this time under the auspices of the US Signal Corps.

The First World War no doubt boosted the development of aircraft considerably under war conditions, reaching, for example, productions of more than 1000 DH-4 aircraft monthly in USA alone, with plans to double this production rate after 19181

[p.125 a.f.]. The availability of this large surplus of aircraft, trained pilots and airports from 1919 onwards led to the birth of the first commercial passenger flights. It is interesting to note that the first regular service offered by the Farman Company between Paris and London, starting as early as 1919, proved not to be financially viable due to high ticket prices. Government support was subsequently provided for such routes from 1920 onwards and commercial passenger flights took off with, among others, the then reputed Franco-Romaine Group with London-Paris- Constantinople routes.

Read more: Challenges for the New Space Economy Peeters

This paper was first published as part of Space Commerce, The Inside Story, published by the Aerospace Technology Working Group (ATWG) and included on this site through the courtesy of ATWG, ISU and the individual authors.

For reference, we are also providing the front cover and table of contents.

Other extracts from this publication can be found here.