Crewed Launch Market Could Suffer Overcapacity

AmericaSpace Note: We saw this in today’s morning AIAA Daily Launch and thought it interesting. Reading this reminded us if of ULA CEO Michael Gass’ testimony before Senator Nelson’s Committee in which he made the case that ULA would not enter the crewed launch business because of ULA’s experience in the commercial satellite launch market, a commercial market that never materialized.

Spacecraft Companies May Find There Is Too Much Capacity

Technology Review (9/14, Cass) reports when various companies updated participants of the AIAA Space 2010 conference on their various spacecraft developments, “some attendees began asking: is the space industry building too much capacity?” The article compares this to what happened in the satellite launch industry during the 1990s, when a similar glut occurred [emphasis added]. “NASA has helped to fuel the space boom by providing financial and technical assistance,” but this may be “creating a ceiling for growth.” Valin Thorn, Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO) deputy program manager, said, “In time, there will be a market to support [as many players as now exist]. But in the near term, there probably won’t be enough. … That’s why we want to bring along several; then we can afford to have some fail. The model doesn’t work if we’re trying to rely on free market commercial practices.”

One Comment

  1. This is why I strongly advocate expanding the space tourism market beyond the super wealthy in the US by starting a Space Lotto system so that average Americans and folks around the world can purchase $1 lotto tickets for a chance to travel aboard a private American commercial spacecraft to tourist oriented space stations. I believe that there are hundreds of millions of Americans who would participate in such a lotto on an annual basis and billions of people around the world who would also participate.

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