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Commercial Research and Development: Power to Explore, Opportunities from DiscoveryThe technical and economic goals of commercial use of space are laudable, and are addressed as a high priority by almost every national space program and most major aerospace companies the world over. Yet, the focus of most organizational agendas and discussions tends to focus on one or two very narrow enabling aspects of this potentially large technological and economic opportunity. While government sponsored commercial launch activities and private space platforms are an integral part of efforts to leverage the commercial use of space, these activities are possibly one of the smallest parts of creating, a viable and sustainable market for the commercial use of space. Most of the current programs usually do not appropriately address some of the critical issues of the current, already interested, potential space user communities. Current programs place the focus of the majority of the user requirements on the vehicle payload weight and mass performance considerations as the primary payload economical factor in providing a commercial market with a stimulating price for gaining access to the space environment. The larger user challenges of transformation from Earth-based research and development approaches to space environment approaches are not addressed early enough in programs to impact the new business considerations of potential users. Currently, space-based research and development user activities require a large user investment in time, in development of new areas of support expertise, in development of new systems, in risk of schedule to completion, and in long term capital positioning. The larger opportunities for stimulating a strong market driven interest in commercial use of space that could result from the development of vehicle payload "leap ahead technologies" for users are being missed, and there is a real risk of limiting the potentially broader market base to support a more technologically advanced and economically lucrative outcome. A major driving force for strengthening the commercial space activities is not only the technological advances in launch vehicle, or newer satellites, but the myriad of enabling payloads technologies that could, as a goal, result in an almost transparent facilitation to regular CD a, -n access to space and microgravity environments by the future users from the existing Earth-based research and development organizations market segments. Rather than focusing only on developing high lift performance launch vehicles and then developing payloads to fit them, the real focus from a business model perspective should to be on the customer payloads requirements, and on designing launch vehicles and platforms systems for a space transportation and facility infrastructure to support all aspects of the business model for the user market. To harness the full potential of space commercialization, new efforts need to be made to comprehensively examine all the critical business model areas for commercial research, development, and manufacturing in space so as to identify specific products and efforts; to determine how such operations must be both similar to and different from current Earth-based activities; to evaluate the enabling technological devices, processes and efforts so that like efforts can be addressed in a synergistic fashion for maximum user cost effectiveness; to delineate the services that are both needed and can be provided by such activities; and to use this information to drive design and development of space commercialization efforts and policy.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Casas, Joseph C. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Nall, Mark (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Powers, C. Blake (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Henderson, Robin N.
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2002
Subject Category
Astronautics (General)
Meeting Information
23rd International Symposium on Space Technology and Science(Matsue)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.