April 3, 2017

Our Global Infrastructure is Expanding into Space

Planetary-Resources-Our-Global-Infrastructure-Expanding-Into-Space

Image Courtesy NASA

For the first time in history, the infrastructure that enables our modern civilization is expanding beyond our planet.

When we look at space technology today, we see incredible achievements:  global communications networks, reusable rockets, ticket sales for space-tourists, the International Space Station, and deep-space probes visiting asteroids and comets. These advances are only the beginning.  Space is no longer a purely scientific or aerospace engineering domain. New players are emerging. The industries that drive commerce on Earth: energy, minerals, construction, transportation, tourism and hospitality, are beginning to see that space is not a stand-alone industry — it is a new medium to conduct business and generate revenue. The companies that created our infrastructure on Earth are moving into space. We are entering a new phase of economic expansion that involves not only the Earth, but asteroids, the Moon, and Mars.

This dramatic shift involves infrastructure projects that are vastly larger in scale than anything on Earth.  As industries move into space, we will see the emergence of asteroid mining and orbital fuel depots, permanent in-space vehicles, commercial moon missions, lunar habitats, and the emergence of affordable space tourism. This massive expansion is characterized by the entrance of Fortune 500 companies, large corporations, and conglomerates that are not typically associated with the space industry. In the same way our entire economy migrated onto the Internet, we are beginning to see a vast economic migration into space.

We have seen similar infrastructure expansions before. During the industrial revolution we created major urban centers as manufacturing moved from homes to factories. Raw materials and resources came from remote locations to create finished products. Transportation systems evolved as the railroad industry emerged. Communications, banking, and financial mechanisms adapted to handle the scale of these new projects.  As our infrastructure expands into space, we will see a similar evolution. We will build orbital cities and heavy manufacturing facilities supplied by raw materials sourced from asteroids. We will build the first propellant depots. Our space transportation system will evolve as reusable in-space rockets, space tugs, and large human transportation systems become commonplace. Deep-space laser communications will become standard. Millions of people will eventually be living and working in spaceOur banking system and financial mechanisms will once again adapt to handle the scale of these new infrastructure projects.

The flow of capital to support these new business opportunities has already begun. Three billion dollars has been invested in the space industry over the past year (2016) and the industry has an estimated worth of $323 billion. While this growth curve is impressive, it is only part of the story. Global annual infrastructure spending is $2.5 trillion per year, and is expected to grow to over $9 trillion per year by 2025. These two industries are merging as we begin to expand our global infrastructure into space. As we do this, we will grant our civilization access to the nearly infinite resources of space and enter the next great economic expansion. As the provider of resources to people, products, and places in space, Planetary Resources is at the core of this transformational shift and major infrastructure expansion.

Resources from asteroids are key to this transformation in space.  What infrastructure expansion are you most excited to see? Please share in the comments below.

 

James Orsulak

Director Sales & Business Development

Planetary Resources, Inc.

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