||The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (October 2011)|
NewSpace, alt.space, and entrepreneurial space are umbrella terms for a movement and philosophy often affiliated with, but not synonymous with, an emergent private spaceflight industry. Specifically, the terms are used to refer to a community of relatively new aerospace companies working to develop low-cost access to space or spaceflight technologies and advocates of low-cost spaceflight technology and policy.
The term alt.space was first used in the early 1980s to describe companies that were making serious efforts to reach outer space without cooperation with NASA, other governmental agencies, or their contractors. Near the end of the 1990s, a dramatic increase in companies engaging in this process led to the common usage of the phrase "new space companies"; "NewSpace" and "entrepreneurial space" are now the most commonly used terms, though "alt.space" is still occasionally found.
NewSpace is a term that has had some variation in meaning since "supplanting the geekier 'alt.space' moniker" after about 2006.
NewSpace is defined by HobbySpace.com as covering "approaches to space development that differ significantly from that taken by NASA and the mainstream aerospace industry". Definitions of what exactly is and is not NewSpace vary but typically include several of the following criteria:
- Development of launch systems principally with private funding, with only secondary or no involvement with government spaceflight programs and contractors. Private companies that conduct aeronautical efforts, such as Boeing, are generally not considered part of NewSpace due to their heavy reliance on NASA development funding as part of their business model. NewSpace companies need not universally avoid NASA, often participating in projects such as Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, but tend to focus primarily on consumers in the private sector.
- Low cost approaches or budgeting plans. Due to the highly expensive nature of spaceflight and lack of government funding, many NewSpace companies consequently take a low-cost approach to constructing launch vehicles and other necessary components. NewSpace companies commonly participate in, or are created to participate in, projects such as the Ansari X Prize and the Google Lunar X Prize.
- Primary drive towards innovation. "A NewSpace company might use innovative new technologies that will lead to low cost, robust space systems. Or a company might simply combine currently available, "cheap-off-the-shelf" (COTS) technologies in an innovative manner that provides a new and highly capable system at lower costs."
- Incremental development that is profitable even at initial low-levels of space system complexity and capability. Many NewSpace development projects follow the "model of other technologies such as computer chips and LCD displays. Start with systems of limited capability but with markets that can provide a profit and thus pay for the development necessary to make the next step up in capability. Over time this can have a tremendous pay off as hardware improvements are compounded and markets expand."
- Aim to increase human presence in outer space. Many NewSpace companies, such as Bigelow Aerospace and XCOR Aerospace, have publicly stated goals to send civilian humans into outer space on a mass scale and/or at low end-user costs.
Mojave, California has been described as "the Silicon Valley of NewSpace". Mojave is home to Masten Space Systems, Scaled Composites, XCOR Aerospace, and the Mojave Spaceport, the world's first private space launch facility.
Following the successful third flight of the Dragon spacecraft in May 2012 by private company SpaceX, some financial industry analysts are now handicapping NewSpace companies and the projected performance of infrastructure vs. application companies in the evolving industry.
Among the verticals are:
- Energy harnessing
- Funeral Services with Space Burial. Both Elysium Space and Celestis offer mass-market services.
- Imagery for Earth and Space with companies such as Skybox Imaging
- Mining of asteroids and planets (notable companies include Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries.)
- Real Estate with Bigelow Aerospace
- Scientific Research brokerage with NanoRacks
- Tourism with Space Tourism, Private Spaceflights. See the list of private spaceflight companies. Such companies include Space Adventures (live) and Virgin Galactic (in progress).
Much of the alt.space activity is now involved in government licensing activities and regulation development for proposed spaceflights, managed by the Federal Aviation Administration
The following are companies and organizations generally regarded as both alt.space and successfully active (or previously successfully active).
- Altius Space Machines
- Andrews Space
- Astrobotic Technology
- B612 Foundation
- Bigelow Aerospace
- Blue Origin
- BOOSTER Space Industries
- Celestial Circuits
- Copenhagen Suborbitals
- Cosmica Spacelines
- Clyde Space
- Dauria Aerospace
- Deep Space Industries
- Digital Solid State Propulsion
- Ecliptic Enterprises
- Effective Space
- Elysium Space
- Escape Dynamics
- Exos Aerospace
- Fast Forward Project
- Final Frontier Design
- Firefly Space Systems
- Galactic Suite Design
- Garvey Spacecraft
- Generation Orbit
- Golden Spike Company
- Innovative Space Propulsion Systems
- Inspiration Mars Foundation
- JP Aerospace
- Made in Space (company)
- Masten Space Systems
- Mars One
- MDA Corporation
- Moon Express
- Planet Labs
- Planetary Resources
- Raptor Space Services
- Rocket Lab
- Rocket Racing League
- Scaled Composites
- Shackleton Energy Company
- Sierra Nevada
- Skybox Imaging
- Space Systems Loral
- Swiss Space Systems
- Space Pharma
- Stratolaunch Systems
- Terminal Velocity Aerospace
- The Spaceship Company
- UP Aerospace
- Virgin Galactic
- XCOR Aerospace
- Zero Gravity Corporation
- Astronauts for Hire
- Commercial Spaceflight Federation
- National Space Society
- OpenLuna Foundation
- Space Access Society
- Space Frontier Foundation
- Space Settlement Institute
- Space Studies Institute
- Space Tourism Society
- Students for the Exploration and Development of Space
- Yuri's Night
- Mars One
- Rotary Rocket
- Rocketplane Kistler
- SpaceDev–acquired by Sierra Nevada Corporation in 2008
- PanAero, headed by Len Cormier
- Pioneer Rocketplane
- X Prize Cup competition
- List of private spaceflight companies
- Private spaceflight
- Space Frontier Foundation
- X Prize Foundation
- [dead link][dead link]
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