It’s been a busy week of space first’s with SpaceIL’s attempt at landing on the moon followed by SpaceX’s successful second launch of their Falcon Heavy rocket and the recovery of their rocket booster’s.
Here at Starbridge, we know space is hard; and so we commend SpaceIL on being the first private space company to attempt a lunar landing with their spacecraft, Beresheet, after having traveled over four million miles and completing a series of three orbits around Earth. Most importantly, SpaceIL has demonstrated that access to the moon is not something that is beyond the reach of private organizations.
The fact that SpaceIL achieved this feat as a nonprofit garnering an estimated $100 million from private donations alone suggests that there isn't yet a business model that can be executed presently for lunar exploration. However, with lowering launch costs and advents in spacecraft technology across the space industry shows that potential business models revolving around lunar resources (water, aluminum, etc.) have become more viable.
Last year, NASA announced their Commercial Lunar Payload Services program which will contract with private companies to carry scientific instruments to the lunar surface. NASA isn’t the only nation planning missions to the moon. China recently landed their spacecraft, Chang’e-4 on the far side of the moon and is planning Chang’e-5 in which they will attempt to return samples from the lunar surface. India is also making an attempt at landing their Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft near the moon’s South Pole sometime this summer. The European Space Agency (ESA) has also been advocating for a multi-partner “Moon Village” concept to further lunar exploration.
Despite these nations enthusiasm for going to the moon, there still lacks an actual customer beyond governments. Currently, Starbridge is actively involved in policy discussions pertaining to the US’s stance on the financing and public private partnerships to figure out what those lunar markets might be and what role government will have in those business models.
We hope that everyone has a great weekend and plans for Yuri’s Night!
Per aspera ad astra!