Space Commerce: Barriers and Solutions

Space Commerce: Barriers and Solutions will examine several of the more frequently cited barriers to space commerce and will then present plausible solutions to each barrier. In addition, for each barrier presented, workshop participants will be asked for their solution to the problem. This format supports three primary course objectives:
  • To introduce critical thinking and discernment for realistic space commerce problem solving.
  • To understand the comprehensive nature of barriers encountered in commercial space development and to apply big picture, as well as specific solutions, to resolving the barriers.
  • To be able to determine the futuristic but plausible solution from that which is nonsense.
The focus will be on economics, physics, and engineering realities.
What You Will Learn: 
This short course will provide practical and feasible solutions to several of the major challenges facing the development and expansion of the commercial space industry. Day 1 - Networking dinner with fellow students Day 2 - Full day of instruction from 8:00am to 5:00pm Day 3 - Half day instruction ending at 1:00pm Specific barriers to be discussed include:
  • Human Factors. There are many human factors issues for long duration space flight and space settlement that prevent spaceflight beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO), including radiation exposure, microgravity, and psychological issues. Not only are these problems facing the inhabitants of the spacecraft, but they will also adversely impact establishing a lunar settlement, visits to a space hotel, and certainly all aspects of a trip to and from Mars. The course will examine the problems, the existing solution paths to these human factors issues, and plausible solutions to each of these for their respective space environment.
  • Public/Private Cooperation. DOD and other space players (i.e. civil space, public, and private space users/developers) can often experience conflicts, stress, and other issues. The course will look at these relationships from the commercial space perspective and identify the problems causing barriers. The course will then explore ways in which public and private cooperation can lead to a timelier and more productive commercial space industry.
  • Affordable space access. Space access can be a costly endeavor for a diverse commercial space industry to develop and for humans wanting to go to space. The course will examine why the high costs of space access do not appear to be a factor in the currently successful commercial telecommunications satellite sector and extrapolate from that how it can be applied to other commercial space areas. The course will look at existing government programs intending to mitigate some of the high costs, such as the NASA COTS program, and using SpaceX as a case study. Participants will then see how they can develop other plausible scenarios to reduce space access costs. Explore launch rates, developing a Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV), finding a killer application that lowers launch costs, and more. Examine this problem from both the cargo and the human spaceflight perspective.
  • Financing. In this section the course will discuss capital acquisition for space projects, risk evaluation, and what the space CEO must do and show to acquire capital. Also addressed will be the wide range of financing tools available including angel and venture capital financing, debt, equity, and funding from government. This section also includes an understanding of market needs and realistic market assessments by management.
  • ITAR (International Traffic In Arms Regulations). Export control issues for the commercial space industry comprise a serious barrier for U.S. companies, often causing a loss of business as a result of the inability to export or even collaborate on a product. The course will explore ways to reform ITAR for the commercial space industry and how to effectively relay that to people who can implement ITAR reform. This section will also address the compliance protocol and what is required of a company involved with ITAR controlled products or technology.
  • Participant Suggestions.  In this section, short course participants will discuss what they consider to be a primary barrier to commercial space development and what they see for a solution set to the problems caused by the barrier.

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Published on July 11th, 2017

Last updated on April 11th, 2023