CHAPTER 1 Space Is an Untapped Resource Peter A. Garretson, Richard M. Harrison, and Anthony Imperato In the decades following the Moon landing, NASA initially steered America’s focus in the space domain with a primary objective of space stations and Earth observation and then later exploration. Today, space has become essential for modern society. Satellites enable near-instantaneous and ubiquitous communication, high-precision global navigation, rapid finan- cial transactions, and improved weather forecasting, among many other innovations that society now relies on. The U.S. military, meanwhile, has reaped the benefits of space for secure global communications, intelli- gence collection, ground forces positioning, and weapons guidance—all because of robust satellite architecture. However, these developments in space barely scratch the surface of what is achievable. NASA spin-offs, or technology derived from space missions, have brought significant benefits to society over the years, ranging from firefighter suits to memory foam to water filtration to technology found in computed tomography and mag- netic resonance imaging scanners.1 Moreover, the advent of reusable rock- ets and advancements in artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, robotics, and other emerging technologies have made space more accessible and open for business. What has been dubbed the “billionaire space race,” accelerated spe- cifically by the development of reusable rockets, has slashed the cost of carrying cargo into space by 85 percent over the past two decades.2 Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson are visionaries who believe in humankind becoming a multiplanetary spacefaring species. They also understand the value of space and its ability to be commercialized. Now is the time to shift from a focus on space exploration to one of space
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