Commercial Infrastructure and Support Industries
Commercial Human Spaceflight
Development continued in 2010 on new commercially operated transportation services that can carry cargo, passengers, and possibly professional astronauts into space. SpaceX and Orbital Sciences made significant progress in development of cargo transportation systems that will be used to resupply the ISS. NASA provided funding to advance development of commercial crew transportation concepts. Although no commercial human spaceflight occurred in 2010, companies developing vehicles to carry people into space attracted investment while testing vehicles and passing milestones in infrastructure development.
Revenue from in-space activities derives mainly from commercial business taking place in space or transportation services to and from space. For example, governments plan to use the private sector to deliver cargo, and eventually astronauts, to the ISS. In the future, other in-space markets could include research and development services, manufacturing, satellite refueling, and orbital debris clean-up. Based on current in-orbit activity, there are three main categories: platform-based services, transportation-based services, and personal spaceflight.
The personal spaceflight market continues to promise a bright future as commercial flights get under way as early as 2010 and demand and sales begin to increase. RocketShip Tours announced that rides aboard the Lynx, a suborbital vehicle being constructed by XCOR Aerospace, would cost $95,000 apiece. XCOR has already booked reservations for about 22 flights, each reservation secured by a deposit of $20,000. Space Adventures accumulated $30 million in revenue during 2008 due to entrepreneur Richard Garriott’s trip to the ISS. Garriott is the son of former NASA astronaut Owen Garriott; they are the first American father and son to have left the Earth’s atmosphere. In 2009, Charles Simonyi, CEO and President of Intentional Software, is to be Space Adventures’ first repeat space explorer. He traveled to the ISS in 2007 and was scheduled for a second visit in March 2009. In addition, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, has secured a future Space Adventures flight with a $5 million down payment.
While the personal spaceflight market is still in its early stages, revenue continues to accumulate for individual trips and as deposits for future flights. Charles Simonyi, by his own account, paid $## million for his 2007 flight to the ISS. Alex Tai, chief operating officer of Virgin Galactic, a spaceline offering suborbital flights, reported in late 2007 that the company had collected $## million in deposits for future suborbital trips aboard SpaceShipTwo.
In 2005, six ISS resupply launches were made from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. NASA paid Roscosmos $## million per launch. NASA’s planned funding for COTS is shown in Exhibit 4q. In 2005, NASA spent $## billion on space operations, (which includes the shuttle and ISS) and spent $## billion on exploration systems. Note that these funds are reflected in the overall NASA budget shown for 2006.