Entrepreneurial New Space photo of a commercial space station in orbit

Recent years have seen the emergence of many new private sector initiatives to develop space and space infrastructures without funding from NASA or other government agencies. The successful achievement of the original $10 million X Prize challenge in 2004 sparked a new wave of public interest in the use of space for commercial purposes.

SpaceShip One wins the Ansari X Prize At the same time, new approaches to the government's procurement of space services have stimulated renewed interest and investment in entrepreneurial space ventures. The most prominent example of this is NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, which aims to use commercially available space vehicles to transport crew and cargo to the International Space Station. This represents a major shift from the traditional paradigm of having the government own and operate costly systems like the Space Shuttle at taxpayer expense to fulfill its operational needs.

The Office of Space Commercialization is interested in fostering the growth of such "New Space" concepts, which leverage the power and efficiency of free market enterprise to achieve goals that the government has not been able to reach on its own.

LEO Market Opportunities

On September 10, 2007, OSC co-hosted the NASA Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office's Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Working Group “kick-off” meeting to discuss the development of commercial markets in LEO.  Representatives from NASA, FAA, DOC, and the entrepreneurial space industry participated in the day-long event.

Businessman shaking hands with astronaut The working group participants discussed topics as far ranging as destinations for human travel and scientific research in LEO (like the International Space Station and future private labs and habitats), regulations and insurance for the emerging markets, applied research market development, the national security market, the development of industry standards, human ratings for existing and future space transportation systems, interagency coordination to facilitate the development of markets, and overall public awareness of commercial space transportation.

NASA's Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office is expected to conduct regular meetings of the Low Earth Orbit Working Group throughout the year to facilitate dialogue between industry and the U.S. Government.

Space Prizes

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See also...

For additional information about entrepreneurial space business and "New Space," visit the websites of the following private sector organizations. These links (and others provided above) are provided as a reference tool only; they do not constitute an endorsement of the views of the organizations listed. To request the addition of another website link, please see the contact information below.