Space Civilisation Needs Infrastructure, Supply Chains, Logistics, Financing, Viable Business Plans
If you want humanity to develop a space-faring civilization, you need to understand that space should be a free-market frontier and entrepreneurs should lead the way!
Start by reorienting your thinking. Space is a place, not a government program. It’s a place, a frontier in which humans can work and live, invent and build, explore and develop — a frontier in which private parties should take the lead.
… Only private parties can commercialize goods and services — that is, bring down costs and improve quality to make them accessible to wide segments of the population, whether cars, computers or TVs.
Private entrepreneurs have skin in the game. They’re using their own money. If they fail, they lose. NASA employees, on the other hand, are playing with tax dollars, funneled to them by politicians. When they fail, often they get even more money. Furthermore, private entrepreneurs can act quickly and decisively. They don’t have to go through committees, congressional hearings or yearlong blue-ribbon panels. They can simply act.
Thus, starting in the late 1990s, the government removed a number of regulatory barriers to private space entrepreneurs. The results have been phenomenal!
Peter Diamandis developed the $10 million Ansari X-Prize for the first private party to develop a spacecraft capable of carrying three humans into sub-orbital space twice in a two-week period. Burt Rutan won that prize in 2004, and he’s teamed up with entrepreneur Richard Branson in Virgin Galactic to offer commercial, sub-orbital flights for paying passengers.
And they’ll have competition! Amazon founder Jeff Bezos founded Blue Origin, a private rocket company, which could offer such flights by 2017.
PayPal co-founder Elon Musk started SpaceX, a rocket company from which NASA is now purchasing supply launches to the space station. The Dragon Heavy rocket he’s developing aims to put humans in orbit. And Robert Bigelow has developed prototypes of a private space station that could be carried into orbit on that SpaceX rocket. Look for lower-cost orbiting labs, hotels and honeymoon suites!
Musk has said, “I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact.” That’s right! His ultimate goal is to set up Martian colonies.
One of the greatest benefits this explosion of private space activity offers is inspiration to a country starved for a vision of achievement. Philosopher Ayn Rand wrote of the Apollo 11 moon launch that it “conveyed the sense that we were watching a magnificent work of art — a play dramatizing a single theme: the efficacy of man’s mind.”
Just as private individuals settled the American frontier, so private pioneers are leading the way into space, the free-market frontier!
Edward Hudgins is a senior scholar at The Atlas Society and editor of the book “Space: The Free-Market Frontier.”
Inflatable Habitat Launches Within Weeks
On its next trip to the International Space Station (ISS), SpaceX will be carrying an inflatable space habitat built by Bigelow Aerospace. The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) will be folded up for its April 8th launch, and then fully inflated once it’s properly connected to one of the station’s nodes, essentially creating a new room on the ISS.
Inflatable modules are an attractive option for space habitats from a mass and volume perspective. In their deflated configuration, they are more compact and potentially much lighter than other alternatives. For these reasons, they could be easier to fit into a launch vehicle and even cheaper to launch.
Nation States Will Need a Space Presence If They Wish to be Taken Seriously
In the same way that a business must establish a responsive presence on the internet to be taken seriously, so will up and coming nations of the future need to stake a claim in space — to prove that they have what it takes to fly into the future.
The proliferating global use of space will be a defining feature of the 21st century, and scientific missions are only one part of this trend. Access to space will be essential for nations to pursue both military and economic objectives, and those depending on this technology will no longer want to be reliant on partners to help launch missions. In the coming decades, access to and control of space will be of greater import to national affairs, even as the skies become increasingly competitive.
A diverse range of motivations is driving the current push into space, which counts Japan, China, South Korea, India, North Korea and Iran, among others, as its newest competitors. Many of these newcomers are concentrated in Asia, led by South Korea and Japan, two of the world’s most technologically advanced nations. This gives them the means to develop the know-how needed to build space-based systems, leveraging expertise in areas such as shipbuilding to expand into the aerospace sector and compete with other commercial launch providers. It also means that it is important for them to gain access to space-based systems, foreign or otherwise, in order to maintain their economic — and potentially military — edge.
Sometimes if you want the best people, you have to “poach” them from the competition. Low fertility rates by intelligent women means that advanced tech enterprises will have to compete more fiercely for the best people.
It will take all types of people to fulfill humanity’s destiny in space, from free creative spirits to highly disciplined planners and organisers.
The challenges of revamping a company unused to price competition doesn’t faze [Tory] Bruno, 54. He’s a mechanical engineer who has written management books based on the medieval Knights Templar, exploring themes such as “warrior monasticism.”
Since joining ULA from Lockheed in 2014, Bruno has shrunk executive ranks by a third, trimmed supplier costs 40 percent and overhauled manufacturing. He is developing a rocket to replace the storied, but expensive, Delta dating to the Sputnik era. The goal: compete with upstarts like SpaceX in a market where low costs now trump an unblemished track record.
“We’re making good progress, actually ahead of our plans,” Bruno said by telephone.
Tory Bruno is the “anti-Musk.” But it takes all kinds of people to kick-start human space civilisation and kick off the infinite expansion.
Robots to service satellites in geosynchronous orbit . . . In fact, robots will be doing a lot of the service and supply business in outer space, and most of the prospecting, exploration, construction, and on-site preparation for human habitation.
Humans will not be replaced by robots, but they will need to learn how to use them in more ways than they currently imagine.
- Part 1 shows the current state of the space economy, with activity relatively limited and an average space population of 5 (all on the ISS).
- Part 2 shows the next five years of growth (assumed to be 7% per year) enabled by low-cost, high performance rockets like Vulcan. Average population is now ~20, with people living and working in commercial habitats like the BA-330.
- Part 3 shows 15 years into the future, when humans will regularly live and work beyond Earth orbit. Developments such as the Xeus lander allow access to the Lunar Surface for propellant mining and exploration. Further tourist activity as well as a space station at the Earth-Moon L1 point is enabled by additional Bigelow modules.
- The 4th and final installation shows the full 1,000 people living and working in space. Raw materials from asteroids and the lunar surface are refined, manufactured, and assembled in cislunar space and transported by ACES to and from Earth orbit. Lunar habitats have developed, and the private space station population continues to grow. Source
Viable civilisations need challenges, goals, and frontiers to explore, pioneer, and develop into prosperous economies. Leftist, statist, and populist political systems tend to be inwardly oriented and stagnant. And yet, the west is stuck with leftist, statist, and populist political systems — dead ends.
That is why parallel markets, currencies, and governments at all scales are necessary.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst, actively making provisions. It is never too late or early to have a Dangerous Childhood.