10 The Next Space Race rocket (see figure 1.3).48 The cost to bring supplies to the Moon is $15,000/ kg.49 Therefore, any resource procured locally saves about $15,000/kg in transportation costs. Space-mined materials can also serve as a force multiplier for both exploration and defense. Sourcing propellants from the Moon or aster- oids enables the U.S. civil space program to travel much farther and with significantly more gear. Similarly, it enables U.S. military spacecraft to constantly maneuver and dodge, making a surprise attack much harder against them, while giving them the element of surprise (traditional crafts are limited by onboard propellant—space refueling is a very new phe- nomenon). As presently being explored in the DARPA NOM4D program, Lunar feedstocks may one day be used to construct large radio and opti- cal telescopes and photovoltaics to power them, enabling a larger, more robust defense satellite architecture above the reach of many threats.50 Furthermore, space-mined materials can be utilized for in-space man- ufacturing of rare, valuable items. These might include feedstocks for Figure 1.3 Medium and Heavy Space Launch Costs per Kilogram to Low Earth Orbit Sources: Inspiration for the chart was from a similar graphic by Futureblind, https://futureblind.com/category/business/ Data used to develop the chart can be found on the Aerospace Security Project website at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, https://aerospace.csis.org/data/space-launch-to-low -earth-orbit-how-much-does-it-cost/.
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