US: NASA recently announced that Space Adventures, the only company to have delivered private human spaceflight missions to the International Space Station (ISS), was one of 13 companies selected to study the future of commercial human spaceflight in low-Earth orbit (LEO).
The purpose of the study is to inform NASA’s strategy for enabling the commercialization of human spaceflight in LEO and NASA’s long-term requirements for the ISS. In December, Space Adventures will submit recommendations to NASA on how to quantify the LEO market opportunity, evaluate technical concepts for low-cost habitation, and describe a viable and sustainable business case in LEO.
“We are excited to work with NASA and to have the opportunity to provide input into the future of commercial activities in LEO and thoughtful suggestions on what the agency can do to assist in the development of the marketplace,” said Tom Shelley, president of Space Adventures. “When commercial crew vehicles are providing regular access to LEO we will see a great future for space tourism; and we are excited to partner with Made in Space to further understand the in-space manufacturing and the materials processing marketplace.”
Andrew Rush, CEO of Made in Space (MIS), said, “Within 20 years, in-space robotic manufacturing and assembly will be utilized to fabricate and integrate functional space systems for solar power generation, remote sensing, and communications. Space-enabled manufacturing of useful products will drive sustainable, commercial operations in LEO. Working with the Space Adventures’ team on this study, MIS will conduct analysis of the price points required to meet existing addressable markets and identify break points for scaling production to larger markets where the cost must be lower to compete with terrestrially produced products.”
Space Adventures has also partnered with Radiant Solutions for this project.
Mike Gold, general counsel of Radiant Solutions, said, “While technical challenges remain important, the legal, regulatory, and policy aspects of commercializing LEO are vital to encouraging successful private sector operations. Radiant Solutions is eager to apply its knowledge to ensure that international treaty obligations, export controls, and space traffic management regimes create an environment that is conducive to the growth of a new and dynamic human spaceflight industry which leverages tourism, in-space manufacturing, and other exciting commercial activities.”