Trillions, High and Low
The transition from a $hundreds of billions space economy to a $trillions space economy may be quicker than anyone thought. Cheap access to space opens all kinds of doors which were expected to stay closed for the next few decades at least. Everything is changing.
Space is already a $350 billion economy, or roughly half a percent of the world’s GDP, [Morgan Stanley] estimates. And as more investments pour into technologies like reusable rockets that make space exploration cheaper, that economy could grow to $1 trillion, especially as countries recognize the need for a space presence to maintain national security. __ https://finance.yahoo.com/news/trump-apos-apos-space-force-140000121.html?
The internet satellite business is expected to earn up to $1 trillion per year worldwide, in roughly a decade or two. SpaceX is in line to eat a significant piece of that pie.
Asteroids worth more than a quadrillion dollars are floating free, waiting for ambitious space miners to strike paydirt. Several earth-based companies are already scanning the skies for likely prospects.
The space tourism business is already worth over $1 billion, just for earth-based space tourism such as “the Air and Space Museum, the Kennedy launch site, space camps, etc“. Moving space tourism into outer space — sub-orbital flights, orbiting space hotels, lunar resorts, etc. could easily boost the industry into the $trillion range.
An emerging cis-lunar economy that will service lunar bases, orbiting habitats and hotels, and orbiting fuel and supply basis supporting missions to Mars, the asteroids, and deeper space, could easily be worth $1 trillion even in the early stages of development.
Another factor playing into the space equation is US President Trump’s proposed national “Space Force” which Morgan Stanley says can fuel a “$1 trillion intergalactic economy.”
Morgan Stanley has been bullish about investing in outer space enterprises ever since the new private companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin began testing their rockets.
In the last fifteen years, the business of space exploration has changed substantially, with private corporations joining governments in creating and launching rockets and satellites. The recent advent of reusable rockets is drastically cutting the cost of sending satellites into space, and the potential for mass production of satellites could slash those costs further. __ Morgan Stanley
The two quickest ways for a $billionaire to become a $trillionaire are through the energy business or the outer space enterprises. We were discussing this topic back in 2010 and 2012 on the original Al Fin blog. Since then, Elon Musk has developed SpaceX into a viable satellite launch company worth perhaps $50 billion. Not far behind is Jeff Bezos and his Blue Origin space launch enterprise. Bezos is pouring $1 billion per year or more into his company and is planning to sell sub-orbital space tourism flights beginning next year.
If you have a good idea for a space enterprise, consult this list of US billionaires for possible backers or collaborators. It is never too early to begin lining up your capital.
No one knows what these first steps will lead to. But we do know that a lot of people will pay a good sum for just a taste of outer space. And we know that people will pay for broadband internet that can follow them anywhere on Earth. And we know that $trillion and $quadrillion asteroids are orbiting just within reach — if we set up the infrastructure to find them, then mine them.
In fact, we already know about significant possibilities for valuable resources on the moon, on Mars, in the asteroid belt, and beyond. All we need is a reliable and affordable way to get there, and the experience and expertise to do the job safely and profitably.
There is room on Earth for a trillion people to live in a pristine environment — but only if the people are smart people. Since the people currently on Earth are not particularly intelligent, we had best keep their numbers under 20 billion.
In outer space there is room and plenty of resources for several trillions of humans to live safely and abundantly — if they are smart people. Living in an island of atmosphere surrounded by a sea of vacuum, stupid people are likely to stumble drunk out the airlock. Best to ship anyone born stupid in space back groundside. 😉
Asteroids: Path to riches, path to ruin. Humans need to learn how to find the one and avoid the other.