commercial space, space settlement

The new vision for commercial space in US slowly coming together

Fifteen months after President Trump reinstated the National Space Council, the White House’s new vision for American leadership in commercial space is slowly beginning to come together. The White House is hoping to lean on commercial space partners for future development of low Earth orbit, while NASA shifts its focus to deep space exploration. The refocus was codified in a policy directive from the White House that aims to establish

Success of commercial platforms unlikely without government help

The findings of the recent report indicate it will be very unlikely that a commercial space station will succeed without some level of on-going government support. In 2017, NASA commissioned a study from the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI), under the direction of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, about the feasibility of a commercial LEO platform. Portions of the report were recently made public as part of

US space policy landscape is about to change dramatically

U.S. space policy and regulation is in the midst of a massive evolution, as the Trump administration continues to reorganize aspects of space governance away from the centralized regime that dominated the last century, and in favor of private enterprise and the burgeoning commercial space sector. The recent commotion around NASA’s Resource Prospector mission is case in point: Months after president Trump directed NASA to return to the Moon, members

NASA mulls next steps in ISS privatization

After the Trump administration called for end to NASA’s funding of ISS by 2025 earlier this year, NASA officials are considering what to do next. The president’s budget allocates $900 million over the next five years to help transition the ISS to the private sector, with  $150 million being allocated to NASA in 2019, “to enable the development and maturation of commercial entities and capabilities which will ensure that commercial

‘Radical new vision’ for NASA would see it become an enabler of the future space economy

The US will be able to maintain its lead in the latest space race, but only if NASA re-focuses on supporting the private sector, according to a new report, entitled “American Space Enterprise and Security,” released from the Potomac Institute of Policy Studies (PIPS). Potomac Institute joins a growing number of research and financial firms that have begun incorporating space industries into their offerings. The report is the first to

With smallsat boom, NASA launches pilot Earth science data program

NASA will begin a pilot program this spring to determine whether the agency wants to purchase Earth observation data from the leagues of private small satellites that are orbiting the planet. Twin trends of decreased costs to access space and advancements made in satellite technology has spurred considerable growth in the private smallsat sector. Meanwhile, funding for NASA's own Earth observation operations is increasingly under threat by the Trump administration,

Trump nominee Bridenstine could advance public-private partnerships at NASA

Oklahoma Republican representative Jim Bridenstine has been nominated to lead NASA, and the commercial space sector is lining up in support, as more information becomes available about what Bridenstine’s leadership of the agency might look like. Bridenstine has been a vocal advocate for expanding private enterprise’s role in NASA’s space activities, and the pick seems to line up with the Trump administration’s interest in helping advance a commercial space sector.

‘Lunar. Sooner’: ULA & Bigelow propose 2022 launch for lunar depot

Bigelow Aerospace and ULA have announced plans to put Bigelow’s B330 expandable habitat module into low lunar orbit by the end of 2022. Bigelow said the habitat will serve as a lunar depot and support infrastructure for other deep space missions. The commercial habitat will launch on ULA’s latest Vulcan rocket. The announcement expands an earlier partnership to launch one of Bigelow's B330 habitats into low Earth orbit aboard ULA's

With Moon in mind, ESA looks to private sector for developing ISRU

The European Space Agency is calling for proposals for sending humans to the Moon, as well as for technology that will sustain crews while there. The agency is looking for proposals to leverage in-situ resources utilization technologies to help create a sustainable off-Earth colony, like the “Moon Village” concept ESA’s director general Johann-Dietrich Woerner has proposed. “We are looking to invest in the development and pay for the use of

NASA unveils logo for Orbital Debris Program Office

One of NASA’s important but perhaps less “Hollywood” offices has gone in for something of a makeover. The Orbital Debris Program Office, which operates under NASA’s Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science program, has approved its first logo, according to the program’s publication, the summer/fall issue of  2017 Orbital Debris Quarterly News, released on 1 August 2017. (The newsletter is required reading for anyone with an interest in the policies, science, or