As things stand, private companies will not only drive space travel forward, but will also have a significant say in how expansion into space is socially organized.
The transport services cited by Thomas Kossatz,
Answer by Thomas Kossatz to What will the space travel of the future look like?Is it determined by private companies?
are only one field of activity, the newly developing private space industry (only 3 billion dollars of investment in 2016).
Undoubtedly, SpaceX’s technological advances and the permanent Elon Musk Show take up most of the public attention.It becomes all the more revealing when you look at where less show is produced.
It should be clear that such laws do not simply fall from the sky.If you look for the person responsible for this systematic approach, you quickly end up with Planetary Resources.
Planetary resources don’t even dwell on such small things as transportation, and their long-range targets make Elon Musk’s Mars colony seem like the little dream of a small spirit.
Planetary Resources, in short, wants to expand global infrastructure into space.This means creating conditions to exploit solar celestial bodies and building on it to establish space-based industries.
They want to start by prospecting asteroids.Later, raw materials are to be mined on these with autonomous plants and, if necessary, processed further.
The main focus here is not on the proverbial precious metals, but on the production of rocket fuel.Rocket fuel available in space would have the advantage that it would not need fuel to weigh it out of Earth’s gravity field into space.
Behind this very rational approach is the big money from Silicon Valley.The founders include several big players from Google (including Larry Page) and a former Microsoft service provider. In the meantime, however, large corporations are already among the investors, such as Bechtel Corporation since 2013.
This is serious business – not ultra-rich who want to play a bit.
Planetary resources is only one, albeit a weighty, example.It is said that many other Fortune 500 companies already have their fingers in the space business.
The private sector is therefore investing billions of dollars and is lobbying politically.The technical advances are googlesk, whether SpaceX’s reusable rockets or PR’s Arkyd 6 demonstration satellite, developed in record time. The principle is already well known – a lot of money buys the brightest minds and lets them do it.
It is to be expected that this will lead to concrete results.
State space travel
On the other hand, let us now look at the quasi-state actors.
Under constant budget pressure due to a lack of awareness in politics, ESA, NASA, and co continue to do a good job – but with completely different goals and in different sizes.
NASA, for example, makes no plans at all for any other activities in space, beyond research.She now buys her transport capacity from the private sector.
The ESA, on the other hand, is seen by Europeans as a kind of recovery plan for the local aerospace industry.For example, a senior policymaker recently acknowledged that ESA did not consider reusable missiles, because otherwise the factories of the partner countries would stand still more often. Her main business is the transport business, and she also conducts good-quality research.
Roskosmos – a space freight forwarder
China and India can still be trusted that their space programmes are as ambitious as these two countries themselves, but I do not know more.
yes.Investments, minds and ambitions, while the non-participation of quasi-state actors, suggest that it will be private companies that will determine the future space travel.
But not only that.The consequences of this are still completely unpredictable.
The whole scenario is a little like the hypothetical idea of how the colonization of America would have turned out if it had been carried out by Microsoft.
Whoever comes first paints first.Whoever establishes standards defines upcoming standards. Today, Microsoft dictates to us how our parliaments should procure software and IT. Google defines how we obtain and weight information over the Internet. The primacy of politics has been abolished. Our decision-makers do not even claim their decision-making competence for themselves – they voluntarily surrender it.
It is a completely naive idea to assume that space could now be left to the private sector, only to be followed and then regulated.
The meaning of solving all problems on Earth before heading into space has always been stupid.
Because he assumed that space was already waiting for us.
But he doesn’t.
We have not successfully set off into space and are still struggling to solve our problems on Earth.
Meanwhile, the private space industry is set to define what the life of future societies will look like in interplanetary space.
The space treaty was supposed to guarantee at the time that the treasures of extraterrestrial space should be available to all people.
The private individuals will now define what this meant.