NASA image of the ISS
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Credit: NASA

Earth economy down? NASA says we’re going to have an awesome space economy

Contributed by
May 29, 2019

Never mind that we’re not experiencing a boom economy anywhere on this planet. Once you leave the atmosphere, things are literally and otherwise going to be out of this world and larger than life.

NASA has joined forces with space tech companies that can help the agency figure out how to get human spaceflight beyond the atmosphere and in business. The 12 companies, which included Axiom, Blue Origin, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, recently presented a series of studies to NASA that will act as a roadmap for achieving a low-Earth orbit (LEO) economy that beats anything here on terra firma.

Focusing on how to commercialize low-Earth orbit, these companies gave NASA their visions of what a thriving off-Earth economy would potentially look like. The studies assess the potential growth of such an economy and propose the most successful ways to fire up private demand for commercial human spaceflight. Think everything from space tourism to habitats in microgravity. The ISS has been a hub of research and development for technologies that would make a space economy possible, and these companies now want to take that to the next level.

Axiom wants “to make living and working in space commonplace as a means to sustained human deep space exploration and for the improvement of life on Earth.”

Axiom/NASA study

Axiom's future plans, part of the combined NASA study. Credit: Axiom/NASA

This speaks for all of the companies who have invested countless hours into creating products and technologies that were first born on the ISS and are almost ready to spread their wings outside the space station. NASA still needs continued research and testing on the ISS to actually see how the tech performs in microgravity.

If only it was so easy to just launch everything like fireworks. There are still some setbacks NASA has to deal with, like the astronomical costs of transporting crews and cargo that will affect both the company and consumer end. You’ve probably seen the outrageous price of some tickets because some billionaire space tourists just can’t wait to see the moon up close and personal with their own private party on board.

The space agency is ultimately looking to maintain commercial partnerships for a space economy that will allow it to spend less on the tech and services it needs in order to stay afloat. And, you know, go to the moon. And Mars. Because we can’t do any of that without rockets, spaceships, landers, a lunar way station, habitats, sustainability technologies... you get it.

Next time you don’t feel the economy here is doing any favors for your paycheck, just look up at the sky.

(via NASA)

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