Commercialization of Space


We’re still working through some technical issues on the site. There are several  items worthy of your attention.

Space News and Commentary Lunar Mining, space veggies taste better than the ones here on earth, Dogs in Space, Hollywood’s space race, Elon Musk is redefining how business is done

  • Seeding the Future, Calling Private Money by Dennis Wingo
  • Why space is the impossible frontier by Dr. Theunis Piersma
  • An experiment in sustainability and spaceflight by Kit Martin
  • VIDEO / “Space” vegetables: More tasty and healthful than “Earth” vegetables? Video by RiaNovosti
  • From Dogs to Frogs, the Creatures That Rocketed Into Space by David A. Graham
  • Mining on the moon is a not-so-distant possibility by Missouri S&T
  • Hollywood’s new space race by Steven Zeitchik
  • To Infinity, and Beyond  Elon Musk is redefining how business is done … in a model that includes outer space

Lunar Rush Far, Far Away as Earthlings Struggle With Laws in Space by Ashy Jones

An international space treaty created at the height of the Cold War likely makes it very difficult for any party to claim rights to the lunar water scientists now say exists. That 1967 treaty, ratified by the U.S., China, India and 95 other countries, in effect prevents any nation from owning the moon.

The agreement reflects the concerns of the two superpowers at the time, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, that space should be used peacefully, that no weapons of destruction should exist there, and that it should be used for the benefit of all mankind, according to legal experts. Yet technology and moon exploration have advanced in the past four decades. That is forcing lawyers to grapple with how international law can govern ownership rights in outer space. It is unlikely any corporation would undertake lunar resource-extraction without far more legal certainty that its rights would be legally protected.

Full article here.


What is NASA’s ’100-Year Starship’? as published in The Week

NASA and the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are starting work on a “Hundred Year Starship” designed to take astronauts on a one-way trip to other planets, says NASA Ames Research Center director Simon “Pete” Worden. “You heard it here,” he told a gathering in San Francisco last weekend. “The human space program is now really aimed at settling other worlds.” What is the Hundred-Year Starship, and will it make our sci-fi dreams a reality?

Why one-way? Keep in mind that space is “annoyingly, impractically huge,” says Evan Dashevsky, with the nearest planet 24 million miles away. That means “it takes a long time to get to the good stuff.” Also, it will cost a lot less, since the major expense of any plan to travel to other worlds is bringing the astronauts home. Hopefully, adds Dashevsky, this doesn’t mean NASA and DARPA “know something that we don’t about the future habitability of this planet.”

Neither Worden nor NASA gave any details, but Worden did say NASA is looking at electric and ground-based microwave thermal propulsion systems to boost the ship into space, rather than using heavy rocket fuel. “Within a few years we will see the first true prototype of a spaceship that will take us between worlds,” he says. “I think we’ll be on the moons of Mars by 2030 or so.”

Full article here.

Professors: Send Colonists to Mars With No Return Ticket as posted in Seattle pi Blogs

We should send people to Mars without worrying about how to bring them back, professors from Washington State University and Arizona State University argue in a new paper. “A one-way human mission to Mars would be the first step in establishing a permanent human presence on the planet,” WSU associated professor Dirk Schulze-Makuch said in a news release discussing “To Boldly Go: A One-Way Human Mission to Mars,” which he published with ASU physicist and cosmologist Paul Davies in the latest issue of the Journal of Cosmology.

They note that most of the cost of a round-trip to Mars would come in the return leg and say the first arrivals would be the vanguard for a long-term presence on the red planet. “It would really be little different from the first white settlers of the North American continent, who left Europe with little expectation of return,” Davies said. “Explorers such as Columbus, Frobisher, Scott and Amundsen, while not embarking on their voyages with the intention of staying at their destination, nevertheless took huge personal risks to explore new lands, in the knowledge that there was a significant likelihood that they would perish in the attempt.”

Full article here.

Bigelow Aerospace Soars with Private Space Station Deals by Leonard David
A private space company offering room on inflatable space habitats for research has found a robust international market, with eager clients signing up from space agencies, government departments and research groups. Bigelow Aerospace has been busy marketing private space modules, an outreach effort leading to six deals being signed with clients this year.

The deals involve Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, Australia and the United Kingdom. “These are countries that do not want to be hostage to just what the International Space Station may or may not deliver,” Bigelow said. The company’s Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 unmanned test modules, lofted in 2006 and 2007, have served as forerunners to ever-larger and human-rated space structures. More recently, a 185,000 square-foot expansion to Bigelow’s North Las Vegas facilities is enabling the churning out of bigger space habitats.

A question that continues to float through the halls of NASA and the Congress: Is there a commercial market for utilizing space? “We’ve got a very certain and loud answer to that. Not only is there a commercial market, but it’s a one that’s robust and global,” said Michael Gold, director of Washington, D.C., operations and business growth for Bigelow Aerospace.

Full article here.

Source: UPI.com

JERUSALEM, July 9 (UPI) — Israel plans to invest $77.5 million over five years to jump-start a space program officials say could become a $10 billion civilian space industry.

Israeli President Shimon Peres, a strong supporter of Israeli aerospace initiatives for years, said he expects the industry to develop into a major source of business, Haaretz reported Friday.

Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu several months ago instructed government officials to develop a national space program to help the 25 Israeli firms in the civilian space sector expand their market.

The international space industry is undergoing major changes, including privatization, Israeli officials noted, adding the civilian space market is worth an estimated $250 billion a year. Sources within the Defense Ministry told Haaretz Israel could capture up to 5 percent of the market.

Full article here.


Recently, I learned about two similar but separate efforts to promote the space industry in South Africa.

Africa from Space

Visions of Tomorrow, Yesterday, and Today from author Howard Bloom. We’ll be posting a conversation with Howard in the next few weeks.

U.S. national_space_policy_6-28-10 Released on June 28, 2010.

Source: Commercial Spaceflight Federation

I dig the newish look to the Federation’s website.

Source: Space Ref

Dear Members of Congress:

We, the undersigned space leaders, are strong supporters of human spaceflight. We are writing to urge you to both (1) fully fund the commercial crew to Space Station program proposed in the President’s FY2011 budget request for NASA, and (2) accelerate the pace and funding of NASA’s human space exploration projects beyond Earth orbit.

These twin pillars of human spaceflight are each crucial to the long-term health of our Nation’s space program. They are also interdependent.

And they will together generate thousands of high tech U.S. jobs for people in multiple states, including Florida, Alabama, Texas, California, Nevada, Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico, and Maryland.

Among us are over 50 space leaders–former NASA executives and advisors, former astronauts, CEOs of firms large and small, a former FAA Associate Administrator, space scientists, space journalists, and others. We are a diverse group, but we are only a handful of the Nation’s citizens who support U.S. leadership in human space flight in general, and the development of commercial human spaceflight in particular.

We specifically wish to express our concern that the commercial crew to Space Station program is sometimes seen as optional or too risky to America’s future in space, but nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, the commercial crew to Space Station program is a fundamental enabler of NASA’s human space exploration beyond Earth orbit, specifically because it will free up the NASA dollars needed to develop deep space transportation and exploration systems for astronauts.

Moreover, a commercial crew to Station transportation system, involving multiple separate space lines as the President has proposed, is more robust than a single-legged transportation plan, whether domestic or foreign.

For these reasons and others, we fully and enthusiastically support both full funding for the commercial crew to Space Station program and also the acceleration of exploration beyond Earth orbit, as the top two priorities within NASA’s human spaceflight budget.

Together, these two efforts will also:

  • Provide an affordable and fast way to close the current post-Shuttle gap in indigenous U.S. human orbital spaceflight capability, by using launch vehicles that already exist.
  • Provide a safe and robust future transportation network to low Earth orbit and beyond for U.S. astronauts. Ensure that our dependence on foreign human launch capabilities is reduced quickly and economically.
  • Reduce space access costs and enhance our national security industrial base.
  • Allow NASA to better focus on accelerating space exploration and the development of its enabling technologies.
  • Excite young Americans to careers in science, engineering, and technology.
  • Stimulate the private sector economy and the development of space commerce over in a dramatic way, by catalyzing other U.S. space interests such as space tourism and the operation of private in-space research facilities.
  • Excite entrepreneurs to envision and then give birth to new commercial services and capabilities in space, further stimulating the Nation’s economy. Others have said that one of the greatest fears of any generation is not leaving things better for the young people of the next generation. We agree with this.

Therefore we reiterate that the near term development of commercial human spaceflight and a clearly defined program of human exploration beyond Earth orbit are both essential. Without either, our Nation’s leadership in space will significantly suffer.

We urge you to make these two goals your highest priorities within NASA’s FY2011 budget for human spaceflight.

Sincerely,

The undersigned, listed alphabetically

Mr. Bretton Alexander
President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Washington, D.C.

Mr. Eric Anderson
President and CEO, Space Adventures
Vienna, Virginia

Dr. Daniel N. Baker
Director, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado
Boulder, Colorado

Dr. Jim Bell
Professor, Planetary Scientist, and Member of the Mars Exploration Rover team, Cornell University
Ithaca, New York

Capt. Ken Bowersox, Ret.
Former NASA Astronaut, and Vice President of Mission Assurance & Astronaut Safety, Space Exploration Technologies Corp.
Hawthorne, California

Mr. Chad Brinkley
President, DCI Services and Consulting
Houston, Texas

Ms. Heather Bulk
President and CEO, Special Aerospace Services
Boulder, Colorado

Mr. John Carmack
President and CEO, Armadillo Aerospace
Caddo Mills, Texas

Dr. Peter Diamandis
Chairman and CEO, X-Prize Foundation
Playa Vista, California

Mr. Frank DiBello
President and CEO, Space Florida
Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Dr. Michael Drake
Head, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona

Mr. Art Dula
CEO, Excalibur Almaz
Houston, Texas

Ms. Esther Dyson
Principal, EDyson Ventures
New York, New York

Mr. Edward Ellegood
Director of Aerospace Development, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Daytona Beach, Florida

Dr. Robert Farquhar
Senior Mission Designer, KinetX Corp.
Fairfax, Virginia

Mr. Jeff Feige
CEO, Orbital Outfitters
Los Angeles, California

Mr. Jim Foreman
President, Blue Smoke LLC
Houston, Texas

Dr. Owen Garriott
Former NASA Astronaut, and Aerospace Consultant
Huntsville, Alabama

Mr. Richard Garriott
Commercial Astronaut
Austin, Texas

Mr. Jeffrey Greason
CEO, XCOR Aerospace
Mojave, California

Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman
Former NASA Astronaut, and MIT professor
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Mr. Richard Homans
Executive Director, New Mexico Spaceport
Las Cruces, New Mexico

Dr. Scott Hubbard
Former Director of NASA Ames, and Professor
San Francisco, California

Mr. Michael Joyce
President, Next Giant Leap LLC
Boulder, Colorado

Mr. Dale Ketcham
Director, Spaceport Research & Technology Institute
Meritt Island, Florida

Mr. Jim Kennedy
Former Director, NASA Kennedy Space Center
Cocoa Beach, Florida

Mr. Glenn King
Chief Operating Officer, NASTAR; Pennsylvania
Southampton, Pennsylvania

Mr. Bill Khourie
Executive Director, Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority, Oklahoma Spaceport
Burns Flat, Oklahoma

Dr. Byron Lichtenberg
Former NASA Astronaut
Houston, Texas

Mr. Todd Lindner
Director, Cecil Field Spaceport, Jacksonville Aviation Authority
Jacksonville, Florida

Dr. John Logsdon
Founder, Space Policy Institute, George Washington University.
Washington, D.C.

Lt. Col. J. Mike Lounge, Ret.
Former Astronaut, and President, Cisneros Innovation Strategies
Houston, Texas

Dr. Stephen Mackwell
Director, Lunar and Planetary Institute
Houston, Texas

Mr. David Masten
CEO, Masten Space Systems Inc.
Mojave, California

Mr. Bill Mitchell
CEO, Environmental Tectonics Corporation
Southampton, Pennsylvania

Mr. James A.M. Muncy
Co-Founder, Space Frontier Foundation
Alexandria, Virginia

Dr. John Muratore
Former Space Shuttle Flight Director and University of Tennessee Space Institute
Tullahoma, Tennessee

Mr. Elon Musk
CEO and CTO, Space Exploration Technologies Corp.
Hawthorne, California

Mr. Miles O’Brien
Aerospace Journalist, and Managing Editor of “This Week in Space”
New York, New York

Mr. Rich Phillips
President, Phillips & Company
Austin, Texas

Mr. Joseph E. Palaia, IV
Manager, NewSpace Center, and Vice President, 4Frontiers Corp.
New Port Richey, Florida

Mr. Brian Rishikof
CEO, Odyssey Space Research
Houston, Texas

Dr. Rusty Schweickart
Former NASA Astronaut, and Aerospace Consultant
Los Angeles, California

Col. Richard Searfoss, Ret.
Former NASA Astronaut, and Chief Test Pilot, XCOR Aerospace
Mojave, California

Mr. Frank Sietzen, Jr.
Author, and Former Editor in Chief of Ad Astra Magazine of the National Space Society
Arlington, Virginia

Mr. Mark Sirangelo
Chairman, Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems, and Chairman of the Board, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Lousville, Colorado

Mr. Frederick A. Slane
Executive Director, Space Infrastructure Foundation, Inc.
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Ms. Linda Kenny Sloan
President, Information Universe
Carson, California

Ms. Patti Grace Smith
Former FAA Associate Administrator, and Aerospace Consultant
Washington, D.C.

Mr. John Spencer
Founder and President, Space Tourism Society
Los Angeles, California

Dr. Alan Stern
Former NASA Associate Administrator for Science, and Aerospace Consultant
Niwot, Colorado

Dr. Frederick A. Tarantino
President ad CEO, Universities Space Research Association
Columbia, Maryland

Mr. Rick N. Tumlinson,
Co-founder, Space Frontier Foundation
Toluca Lake, California

Col. Jim Voss, Ret.
Former NASA Astronaut, and Director of Advanced Programs, Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems
Louisville, Colorado

Mr. Robert W. Werb
Co-founder, Space Frontier Foundation
Nyack, New York

Mr. Stuart Witt
General Manager, Mojave Air and Space Port
Mojave, California

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