Commercializing International Space Station The panelists said in an online panel on Thursday (August 27) that the government would combine willpower, tax benefits and regulatory clarity into the next phase.
Participants in “Building the” [low Earth orbit] Leo Economy “Panel RSS Research-Development (Research-Development) Conference They explored how the space station could benefit business on Earth and what could be done to make space more attractive to companies.
Private efforts at the space station are not a new concept. Management of the station’s U.S. National Laboratory entered into an agreement in 2010 with a third party, the Nonprofit Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS). That same year, SpaceX sent the first commercial cargo ship to the space station.
In photos: The world’s first astronauts
The astronauts paid millions of dollars each for a short stay at the station and the former Soviet-Russian Mir, an orbital complex. Prior to that, companies hosted advertising campaigns in space such as Time Pepsi and Coca-Cola went on an orbital taste test 35 years ago.
Two things have changed in the recent discussions about privatizing the station. First, several speakers at the conference suggested that NASA set aside 5% of the station’s resources for private space travel. Axiom Space appears to be the first to be ready to take advantage of both, An astronaut with SpaceX will decide to launch in 2021 and develop a module in 2024 in collaboration with Thales Alenia.
Second, NASA is considering replacing the space station with a lower orbit. The agency wants to get a start-up so that companies can create private businesses in the future NASA will be a paying consumer, not a facility provider. But companies need government funding and updated regulations to prepare, the companies demanded during the panel.
The U.S. government is still somewhat challenged by the amount of money available to NASA and other government agencies to advance commercial efforts, ”Axiom co-founder and CEO Michael Safredini told a live conference. Safredini He was also the program manager for NASA’s space station from 2005 to 2015.
Congress is calm on the idea of commercialization, One-tenth of NASA’s $ 150 million request – $ 15 million – for privatization efforts in Earth’s orbit In the 2019 financial year.
Safredini says Congress needs to understand why this commercialization is important. He warned that economic revenues would be 15 years away – but even then, he said, “I think production in space is going to be huge.”
In addition, companies looking to invest in space need to clarify what NASA’s plans are after the space station event, the panelists said. The station program can wrap up the options as early as 2024, however this may continue until 2028. The decision is subject to congressional budget priorities, which may change depending on the current corona virus pandemic and the upcoming election, which will see party changes in the White House or Congress. In January.
“NASA needs to indicate the rate of use after ISS,” said Andrew Rush, CEO of Made in Space, which operates additive manufacturing at the space station. Rush also serves on the NASA Advisory Board on Control and Policy.
When it comes to regulation, this is another muddy area for space commercialization, especially how NGOs operating in space oversee it. There was a long discussion among the panelists in this regard Article 6 of the Space Tower Space AgreementCountries that have signed the International Responsibility Treaty on Space Government and NGOs. The panelists agreed that companies need more clarity to understand what to do next.
Richard Dalbello, vice president of Virgin Galactic Business Development, added that some players in low-Earth orbit are not even going into orbit. Virgin and its rival Blue Origin are trying to fly astronauts and commercial payloads on short suburban rides. Dalbello said it only takes four or five minutes to provide a microgravity virgin to do basic research.
In the opinion of Bryce Analytics and Engineering CEO Carissa Christensen, All concerned parties should think about how the low orbital activities of the earth will benefit the people and companies of the earth.
Nicole Wagner, president and CEO of a biotechnology startup, said the clock is ticking. Companies feel that commercialization efforts are beginning to make their progress, and acceleration is urgently needed. What’s next for low – orbit commercialization, the International Space Station in particular, is a “very important discussion” that needs to be clarified immediately, “for companies like me and future companies to understand what is currently available,” Wagner added.
Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace follow us PSpacedotcom on Twitter And on Facebook.