Aero-TV: ISDC 2009 -- The Future Of Commercial Spaceflight

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The Commercial Space Revolution Is Alive And Well! Just a smidgeon over five years ago, ANN was literally on the edge of history... watching the XPrize-inspired Mike Melvill head out and then return from the first successful commercial spaceflight in Burt Rutan's dreamrocket. A lot has happened since then... and a whole new industry... as well as a public perception of our future in space, has resulted. At the National Space Society's 28th annual International Space Development Conference, NSS and a very motivated group of people dedicated themselves to an in-depth look into the emerging privately funded sector of the space industry. The space industry is undergoing an unprecedented transformation. The Space Shuttle will be retired in less than two years, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs. Although hiring by the emerging privately funded sector of aerospace may ameliorate some of this job loss, the suspension of manned spaceflight by our civil space program for at least five (5) years will nevertheless create unprecedented losses in experienced personnel who can not be replaced. This gap in both time and employment will also have a profoundly negative rippling effect, not just in the space industry, but also in peripheral and complimentary industries such as energy, life sciences, travel, education and telecommunications. The cost of accomplishing humanity's goal of exploring and understanding life beyond our atmosphere cannot be realized unless the space industry diversifies itself. The private sector has a unique ability to innovate, as it is not subject to many of the bureaucratic pitfalls that can sometimes hamper government. It can create economies of scale that make products and activities cheaper and better. By utilizing procedures and by taking paths that either do not work or do not apply in a government setting, these business-minded pathfinders can take the average citizen or company to places that heretofore were unrealistic. The bold new generation of aerospace entrepreneurs and ...