Is the World Ready for High-Speed Intercontinental Package Delivery (Yet)?


Dr. John R. Olds
Mr. A.C. Charania
Mr. Jon G. Wallace
Mr. Michael Kelly

SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. (SEI)

Mr. Derek Webber

Spaceport Associates

This paper examines the prospects for a successful regularly-scheduled high-speed package delivery service for high-priority intercontinental cargo, notionally to be undertaken within the next decade or two. The topic is investigated from both technical/vehicle design and economics/business case points-of-view. Potential cargo include packages and priority items for which there might be a premium paid for speed, particularly if door-to-door service can be achieved fully one business day earlier than the fastest scheduled offerings currently available in the industry. The paper introduces a preliminary traffic model for a future business case, highlighting key routes and estimated daily volumes and price expected. Candidate flight vehicles and requisite technologies are discussed, with a particular point-to-point reference concept being presented to serve as the basis for non-recurring and recurring service cost estimates. The overall business case is then investigated, considering both the potential revenues and the likely costs or development and operation of the system. The challenges of the business case are summarized and are used to answer the question, ”Is the World Ready for High-Speed Intercontinental Package Delivery (Yet)?”

Bibliographic Reference:

Olds, J., Charania, A., Webber, D., Wallace, J., Kelly, M., "Is the World Ready for High-Speed Intercontinental Package Delivery (Yet)?," IAC-08-D2.4.5, 59th International Astronautical Congress, Glasgow, Scotland, September 29 - October 3, 2008.