Author Topic: Emerging Markets in Space  (Read 6819 times)

Offline Gregori

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Emerging Markets in Space
« on: 01/19/2011 08:18 PM »
I've started thread to discuss what markets may emerge in space in the next 50 years.

I am going to throw a wildly speculative one and that is servicing Satellites . Missions to Skylab and Hubble proved it could be done. There has never been a privatly available vehicle to conduct these missions or private astronauts but that may change in this decade.

Satellites are very expensive, sometimes more expensive than launch vehicles and the longer they stay in orbit the more money the company can make out of that big investment. Space Hotels will be much more complex than even satellites so will need crew to be sent up from time to time to fix and maintain them.

My speculation is that their will be not just space tourists or NASA astronauts on private vehicles, but a whole new class of workers in the next few decades.

Offline Jim

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #1 on: 01/19/2011 09:18 PM »
I've started thread to discuss what markets may emerge in space in the next 50 years.

I am going to throw a wildly speculative one and that is servicing Satellites . Missions to Skylab and Hubble proved it could be done. There has never been a privatly available vehicle to conduct these missions or private astronauts but that may change in this decade.

Satellites are very expensive, sometimes more expensive than launch vehicles and the longer they stay in orbit the more money the company can make out of that big investment. Space Hotels will be much more complex than even satellites so will need crew to be sent up from time to time to fix and maintain them.


False.

GSO is the only place viable for satellite servicing  and it requires a large delta V. 
It is cheaper to send up a new spacecraft vs a manned spacecraft with spare parts.

Hubble proved that it would have been cheaper to fly a new spacecraft vs a repair mission.
Each of the repair missions could have bought and launched a new spacecraft

Hubble was over built for manrating and EVA repair and also was in a  substandard orbit for a telescope. 

Offline Gregori

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #2 on: 01/19/2011 09:49 PM »
I don't see why GSO is the only orbit were things can be fixed. All satellites in different kinds of orbits will need to be fixed.

Spacecraft can be sent to all kinds of orbits with people once they can be returned, there is enough fuel and so on. ISS is repaired and built in LEO right now.

Hubble cost over a Billion, an additional Shuttle mission costs around 450 million, and privately developed capsules will probably cost much cheaper than the shuttle.

They actually repaired and upgraded Hubble and considered using robots but decided it was best to use people. They never tried just putting up a new telescope, so we can't say without a control what was actually cheaper. I somehow doubt they would have risked 7 people's lives and spent more precious money if something else was available that was safer and cheaper.

Offline Danderman

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #3 on: 01/19/2011 11:53 PM »
Another emerging market is use of space stations for commercial and academic research. The good news is that it requires crew to operate the experiments. For an example, see:


nanoracks.com
« Last Edit: 01/19/2011 11:54 PM by Danderman »

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #4 on: 01/20/2011 04:25 AM »
Lunar landers and Earth landers (capsules) are very different spacecraft.  People like lunar miners will want to go the whole trip so it is likely they and their cargo will change spacecraft part way.  Consequently a commercial EML-1 spacestation could have a dock worker to handle the transfer.

Offline marsavian

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #5 on: 01/20/2011 04:31 AM »
Suborbital, Orbital and Lunar sight seeing tourism is probably a given. Maybe also paying manned control of robots/rovers on the Moon.

Offline jimgagnon

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #6 on: 01/20/2011 05:51 AM »
GSO is the only place viable for satellite servicing  and it requires a large delta V. 
It is cheaper to send up a new spacecraft vs a manned spacecraft with spare parts.

True. However, there may be a market for a GEO resident tele-operated repair ship. Sort of a tug/refueling ship with dock, arm and a couple of DEXTREs/Project M's on board. That way, one would need only to send up fresh parts and fuel to service a satellite.

It's a little premature to consider this, as we don't know how well Project M or an advanced DEXTRE works in space. Also, nothing in the budget for this sort of thing. I know that until recently IntelSat would have loved a way to get control of Galaxy 15 -- I imagine they would have paid a pretty penny to avoid last year's zombie sat pains.

As for people in space, short of an alien invasion the only foreseeable market is tourism.

Offline aquanaut99

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #7 on: 01/20/2011 06:25 AM »
There is no market in manned spaceflight. People need to wake up to that reality and stop dreaming.

Which is why the private sector will not advance the "cause" of human spaceflight. No money to be made. This is true for SpaceX and Bigelow and all the others, despite what their bosses say. At the end of the day, it comes down to cold, hard cash and when they balance the budget, all plans for "commercial heavy lift" or "private spacestations" will quietly be dropped.

Incidentally, Virgin Galactic-style suborbital hops are not "manned spaceflight" as I understand it. And it remains to be seen if there is a market in that (I doubt it, once the novelty has worn off and once the enviros get riled up). Commercial manned ventures even into LEO are a whole different ballgame and there definetely is no market in that (there are only a very select few who could afford it, and those that can afford it and who are interested will do it once for the publicity so long as the press keeps talking about it. When the novelty has worn off, I predict "space tourism" will quietly go away. In any case, 20 or so billionaires do not constitute a "market", certainly not one which would justify a private Bigelow-style space station.

Once ISS is gone, there is no destination left. Unless some nation-state (China?) coughs up the funds for another LEO station, there is nowhere left to go for the tourists. Private stations are out of the question because they are economic insanity.

As for those who dream about manned satellite repair or even mining on the moon: Forget it. Study basic economics first. It is cheaper (and easier) to launch a new satellite rather than repairing an old one with human physical labor. And if we ever were to strip-mine the moon (again, very unlikely, because the comparatively deep gravity well of the moon makes this uneconomic, even for the most precious and rare elements), it would certainly be cheaper, easier and less dangerous to use robots (teleoperated from Earth) to do it rather than placing fragile, precious humans who need huge and expensive life-support in an extremely hostile place...

The more I think about it, the more I blame sci-fi for putting all these false and unrealistic expectations into people's heads. Now the damage is done: we just can't seem to get these false notions out of those heads anymore. NASA is also infected by this virus and this explains many of the bad ideas and grandiose failures they had over the past decades.

You must understand that ideas like human miners on the moon and humans repairing satellites in orbit come out of '50s and '60s sci-fi. A time when humans had to do the work because reliable robots didn't exist. Those days are long gone.

I think we also need a new brand of sci-fi if we are to advance the cause of space exploration. This is another subject that would merit a post of its own.
« Last Edit: 01/20/2011 06:44 AM by aquanaut99 »

Offline Jim

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #8 on: 01/20/2011 11:35 AM »
I imagine they would have paid a pretty penny to avoid last year's zombie sat pains.

No, they knew it would reset and it didn't cost them a penny.

Offline Jim

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #9 on: 01/20/2011 11:41 AM »
Another emerging market is use of space stations for commercial and academic research. The good news is that it requires crew to operate the experiments. For an example, see:


nanoracks.com


No, those are heavy underwritten by NASA.  They could not fly on their own.  They also are using an underwritten resource, crew time.
 
The dragonlab/FOTON conop is cheaper.

Offline Jim

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #10 on: 01/20/2011 11:57 AM »
1.   don't see why GSO is the only orbit were things can be fixed. All satellites in different kinds of orbits will need to be fixed.

Spacecraft can be sent to all kinds of orbits with people once they can be returned, there is enough fuel and so on. ISS is repaired and built in LEO right now.

2. Hubble cost over a Billion, an additional Shuttle mission costs around 450 million, and privately developed capsules will probably cost much cheaper than the shuttle.

3.  They actually repaired and upgraded Hubble and considered using robots but decided it was best to use people. They never tried just putting up a new telescope, so we can't say without a control what was actually cheaper. I somehow doubt they would have risked 7 people's lives and spent more precious money if something else was available that was safer and cheaper.

1.  Because there no "groupings" of  spacecraft.  MEO spacecraft like GPS can only be visited one at time.  Same goes for Iridium or Globalstar.    Polar satellite are even more spread out.  It is cheaper and will remain for years to launch a new spacecraft because a manned mission is going to more expensive.

2,.  HST was expensive (2.5 billion)  because it interfaced with the Shuttle and crew.   Here are proposals for replacements.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=23536.msg669923#msg669923

3.  yes, we can say it is cheaper.  No control is needed.  Unmanned spacecraft and launch vehicles are cheaper.   That is a FACT.  You doubt but I know.
« Last Edit: 01/20/2011 12:05 PM by Jim »

Offline Jim

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #11 on: 01/20/2011 12:06 PM »

 Space Hotels will be much more complex than even satellites so will need crew to be sent up from time to time to fix and maintain them.


The persons onboard can fix them.

Offline notherspacexfan

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #12 on: 01/20/2011 12:13 PM »

1.  Because there no "groupings" of  spacecraft.  MEO spacecraft like GPS can only be visited one at time.  Same goes for Iridium or Globalstar.    Polar satellite are even more spread out.  It is cheaper and will remain for years to launch a new spacecraft...

What about the A-Train? Your point is valid though. For servicing missions to be viable, launch costs need to go down by orders of magnitude. If launch costs go down, so do the costs of replacement spacecraft.

Offline Jim

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #13 on: 01/20/2011 12:17 PM »

1.  Because there no "groupings" of  spacecraft.  MEO spacecraft like GPS can only be visited one at time.  Same goes for Iridium or Globalstar.    Polar satellite are even more spread out.  It is cheaper and will remain for years to launch a new spacecraft...

What about the A-Train? Your point is valid though. For servicing missions to be viable, launch costs need to go down by orders of magnitude. If launch costs go down, so do the costs of replacement spacecraft.

I conveniently over looked that since it was a small percentage.

Offline notherspacexfan

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #14 on: 01/20/2011 12:24 PM »

1.  Because there no "groupings" of  spacecraft.  MEO spacecraft like GPS can only be visited one at time.  Same goes for Iridium or Globalstar.    Polar satellite are even more spread out.  It is cheaper and will remain for years to launch a new spacecraft...

What about the A-Train? Your point is valid though. For servicing missions to be viable, launch costs need to go down by orders of magnitude. If launch costs go down, so do the costs of replacement spacecraft.

I conveniently over looked that since it was a small percentage.

I know, but you are so rarely wrong (even by a tiny omission) that I had to jump at my chance :)

Thanks for being the voice of reason around here.

Offline Danderman

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #15 on: 01/20/2011 12:27 PM »
Another emerging market is use of space stations for commercial and academic research. The good news is that it requires crew to operate the experiments. For an example, see:


nanoracks.com


No, those are heavy underwritten by NASA.  They could not fly on their own.  They also are using an underwritten resource, crew time.
 
The dragonlab/FOTON conop is cheaper.

... or Nanoracks could fly on DragonLab/Foton, without the capability of changing out the experiments during flight. Since DragonLab and Foton are relatively short duration missions, the lack of crew to change out the experiments isn't a big deal.

Offline MarkM

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #16 on: 01/20/2011 02:28 PM »
I have been meaning to post on this topic for a while, every time I read about "Space Tourism" I want to point out that tourism is a very recent phenomenom, especially tourism for the avergae person.  (only since the last half of the 20th century has the "average person had the disposable income to consider tourism).
For tourism to become economical, the movement of goods paid the way until economies of scale were met and the technologies involved matured to the point that providing travel services to people for pleaseure became profitable.  In the case of maritime trransport it was goods, bulk materials in particular that made the most profits (even the Titanic, although a luxurious cruise ship, it was the people in steerage that provided the bulk of the profit - heartless economists would consider them cargo).  In the case of airlines, it was the mail service that started up the commercial, private for protit enterprises.  Why, because there was a viable market that was willing to pay for mail to be delivered quickly. Even today, a portion of the holds of aircraft going south to the carribean from Canda come back filled with fresh fruit.  I used to work in the travel industry in Canada and the ailine arm of our company made a sizeable profit from the cargo portion, which allowed us to subsidize the tourist side.

So to stay on topic, what do I think what is going to be the emerging market (and I specifically meanfor profit) in space?  Well for a while now it has been cargo -namely information flowing through satellites and it will continue for a long time.  However, what could be game changing is in materials science, if a new, man-made material was discovered  that could only be created in micro-gravity and the value and need was so great perhaps this will pay the way for lower cost entrance to space.

Cheers

Offline jimgagnon

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #17 on: 01/20/2011 03:14 PM »
I imagine they would have paid a pretty penny to avoid last year's zombie sat pains.
No, they knew it would reset and it didn't cost them a penny.

From last July:
  "Orbital's bottom line was hit with $2.5 million in unexpected costs from the Galaxy 15 mishap, and the company expects to spend another $1 million on the issue in the next three months..."

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1007/25galaxy15/

As they only recently got control of it, the whole ZombieSat affair set them back somewhere around $4.5M. Wonder how much they would have paid to have gotten control of it the first two weeks after the incident?

Offline Jim

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #18 on: 01/20/2011 03:28 PM »
I imagine they would have paid a pretty penny to avoid last year's zombie sat pains.
No, they knew it would reset and it didn't cost them a penny.

From last July:
  "Orbital's bottom line was hit with $2.5 million in unexpected costs from the Galaxy 15 mishap, and the company expects to spend another $1 million on the issue in the next three months..."

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1007/25galaxy15/

As they only recently got control of it, the whole ZombieSat affair set them back somewhere around $4.5M. Wonder how much they would have paid to have gotten control of it the first two weeks after the incident?

And what can you launch for 5 million?

Offline jimgagnon

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #19 on: 01/20/2011 04:24 PM »
From last July:
  "Orbital's bottom line was hit with $2.5 million in unexpected costs from the Galaxy 15 mishap, and the company expects to spend another $1 million on the issue in the next three months..."

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1007/25galaxy15/

As they only recently got control of it, the whole ZombieSat affair set them back somewhere around $4.5M. Wonder how much they would have paid to have gotten control of it the first two weeks after the incident?
And what can you launch for 5 million?

Not much, but that wouldn't be the only thing this automated repair tug would be doing. Just to pull some numbers out of my nether regions, let's say you could bill this thing out for $10M/month, and it had a five year lifespan. That's $2B.

Galaxy 15 is allegedly worth about $400M. If a robot tug could save just two satellites like this (either through repair or orbit correction), that would just about pay for it's cost.

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