The way this study works...

"Space Project Enterprise asks not only what your country can do for NewSpace, but what NewSpace can do for your country!" -- Coyote

YOUR PARTICIPATION IS CRITICAL! The research team will post questions and you comment with your expertise or considered opinions.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Six Research Questions for Space Project Enterprise

These six questions are the focus of investigation of Space Project Enterprise:

1.  What commercial space ventures are in the works?
2.  What investments can USG make in NewSpace that will ultimately promote its security, prestige, and wealth?
3.  What space capabilities should the USG request the commercial sector pursue?
4.  What responsibilities/liabilities does the USG incur from various NewSpace activities?
5.  What trails can USG blaze to open opportunities for commercial space ventures to follow?
6.  What responsibilities should USG assume as a result of successful commercial space ventures?

Finally, the report will conclude by laying out a vision of future USG spacefaring based on the lessons learned in this study. 




  1. Perhaps a question concerning "what space capabilities should the USG request NewSpace pursue?"

  2. I think question 2 is unnecessary and potentially leads us in a dangerous direction of government support for NewSpace as a goal in and of itself.

    Government should only promote NewSpace to the extent that it advances public goals. Question 2 is therefore a subset of question 4.

    To see how this works consider the issue of reducing launch costs.

    Government is the largest consumer of launch services and therefore has an interest in purchasing those services in a way that reduces it long term costs. Furthermore, government has an interest in promoting technologies that will provide it with both lower costs and capabilities that are useful for government use. While the policy differences between this and enabling and promoting NewSpace commercial success is insignificant, the difference from a political perspective is very dramatic. One is a commercial subsidy that can be cut in the interest of saving the taxpayers money, the other is an investment that will save the taxpayers money.

  3. Bob,

    You are right! Thanks for improving my perspective. This is not about subsidies, or "space welfare." This is about business and doing things in a sustainable way.


  4. A definition of "space capabilities" is critical for moving forward. Does it include terrestrial infrastructure or data collection & analysis?

    An additional question is what enabling functions can the USG provide. The USAF already provides Launch & Range safety and telemetry relays for launches. This leads to a question of whether or not the USG needs to invest in enablers to meet future commercial demands?

  5. Dex,

    Thanks for this. You are right, a common lexicon is important.

    I've checked with my space launch expert and the USG does charge for the USAF launch and range safety, as well as telemetry relays. However, it is a marginal cost, not a fully-loaded cost, as they say.