Talk for Article "Help Wanted: Space exploration – Is it now private companies’ territory?"

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    Current issue of Bloomberg Businessweek is a special issue all about “The New Space Age”. It has a lot about private companies: https://www.bloomberg.com/magazine/businessweek/18_32

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    It could be interesting to compare the mission statements of the private companies with those of various governments. US, France, China of course, but countries in Africa have had active space programs for decades.

    https://face2faceafrica.com/article/top-5-african-countries-advanced-space-programs

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    It’s an interesting discussion point. My assumption is that space agencies have been funded by governments in the past, make money by selling services to private companies (e.g. comms satellites), and are now buying services from private companies because they’re offered much cheaper (e.g. re-stocking missions to the ISS). I suppose the next logical step is to cut out the middle man and offer the services direct to the customers. But then maybe space agencies provide a lot of services that need to be properly regulated e.g. launch sites, flight times etc. that the private companies just don’t want to get involved with anyway. Either way, it’s an exciting step along the ladder of space exploration and not the one many of us would have expected even ten years ago.

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    http://www.spaceresources.public.lu/en.html

    This website may be of use, a Luxembourg initiative.

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    Who can do space exploration cheaper: the state or private sector?
    The comparisons on this pretty much should be between the NASA SLS system and SpaceX’s BFR for deep space missions from my understanding. As far as orbital missions go it would probably be necessary to compare most of the launch vehicles that are planned and have LEO capabilities on the Launch vehicles table on this page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_private_spaceflight_companies
    Otherwise we might instead just look at the combined cheapest and most likely to succeed currently of those.

    Does the state get enough benefit from space related programs?
    There are actually quite a few articles I have seen over the years describing the direct financial benefits of space related research but NASA also lists a number of uses that their technology is currently being used in. Here is just an initial list of links that may be useful:
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/gregautry/2017/07/09/americas-investment-in-space-pays-dividends/#48395ee639b8
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14983842
    https://www.nasa.gov/topics/benefits/index.html

    Is space related research going to almost solely become private companies’ territory in the future?
    Private sector is mostly working on rocket and space structure technology at the moment. State projects(for NASA anyways) is currently dealing with supporting technologies such as biological, meteorological, and computational systems. The SLS is the only mission listed on their “What’s Next For NASA” page that couldn’t be directly accomplished on commercial space flights. https://www.nasa.gov/about/whats_next.html

    I am an engineer that is not currently working in the sector but have been following things as closely as is reasonable. My main knowledge is actually in the computational/robotic research that is currently being conducted by NASA and through their community initiatives. If I can help in any way let me know!

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      brilliant. great points. thank you and not going to turn down the offer of more help!

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    DU
    Deleted User

    I’d love to help – great to see this get off the ground!

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