Space economy!

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It will not be long before we have news about commercial space projects and economic access to Mars. While some see such projects as far-fetched, others believe that the future will present us with amazing economic opportunities in space.

Behind many of these projects are three of the most successful businessmen in the world: Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla; Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and now the richest man in the world; and Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group. Jeff Bezos launched his company Blue Origin with the aim of landing on the surface of the moon in 2023; Elon Musk through SpaceX aims to convey people to Mars in 2024 and Richard Branson strives to be a major player in space, as well.

Determining the size of the space economy is difficult. In a study released last year by Morgan Stanley, it was estimated that by 2040 space-based projects would be worth $1 trillion. The study suggests that basic revenue would be from satellite and rocket services because of the demand for “satellite Internet” and the delivery of packages by rockets, not taking into account more ambitious possibilities, such as space tourism, and mining, housing and agriculture in space.

Economists compare this to previous cycles of the world’s economy during early periods of the expansion of maritime transport and navigation and its contribution to the international economy, as well as the spread of rail networks around the world and their positive impact on the mobility of people and goods and the creation of millions of job. Space economy enthusiasts argue that we must first build the infrastructure and then recruit money and people, because necessity creates opportunities.

However, there are those who see what is happening today as a new “colonialism” and “imperialism” and a violation of “law”. In 1967, the Outer Space Treaty was enacted, which stated that all flights to outer space are for the benefit of all countries irrespective of their economic or scientific status, and for the benefit of mankind as a whole. The treaty banned the use of all weapons of mass destruction or claims of sovereignty.

At the time, the agreement was the product of the Cold War and aimed at curbing the nuclear race. After several Apollo flights, the United Nations drafted the Moon Agreement in 1979, which only 18 countries have signed. The United States objected to the clause that declared that “the moon and its resources are a common heritage of mankind,” arguing that this would create a global socialist system that hindered the commercial use of the American private sector.

During the presidency of Ronald Reagan, the US space agency NASA established a commercial division. Under President George W. Bush, a policy was created which focused on cooperation with the private sector in space. The US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act was passed in 2015 when Barack Obama was president. The act guarantees the right of every US citizen to anything brought with him from space, which one expert stated was “the most daring intellectual property law in the world”.

Finally, Donald Trump has issued a resolution that clearly facilitates all measures for companies wishing to launch satellites, land on meteorites or build fuel stations on planets.

We have entered the era of space colonization when science fiction is combined with remarkable economic ideas. As they say: The future will truly be amazing!


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