Space Markets: supply side

Most of my space markets page is about the demand side of the space business. This page is about the supply side. In both cases the criteria are the same: price and reliability are the biggest ones but others, like various aspects of customer-friendliness, often enter in.


Current products are about US$10000-15000 per kilogram to LEO and 90-99% reliability. The details are on my launchers page.

Microgravity environments

By this I primarily mean facilities with at least some services such as electrical power, human tending, pressurization (atmosphere), and communications, suitable for applications such as space manufacturing.

See a usenet post by Wales Larrison. Here is the summary:

        Steady State Quiet   Crew Exercise  Duration Mass    Power 
        ------------------   -------------  -------- ----    ----
Photon        10-100+ uG         N/A         <16 d   700 kg   400 W    
EURECA         <1000 uG          N/A         <270 d 1000 kg  1000 W
Wake Shield      < 1 uG          N/A          < 5 d  150 kg   950 W 
Mir             <500 uG                       Hours    ???    ???
                            < 5000 uG        30-60d+   ???    ???
Shuttle         < 3uG                         Hours  >1400kg  <6000 W
                            < 50 uG           <16 d  >1400kg  <6000 W

Human space flight

That is, space stations and such for tourism, movies, &c.

Cost estimate on "full reconfiguring of the Mir for private use" is hundreds of millions of dollars ("Russia: Mir will work through August; Service Module to launch in July", Florida Today Space Online, 20 Jan 2000).


By this I mean facilities with services such as attitude control, electrical power, access to the space environment, and communications, suitable for applications such as remote sensing or astronomy.

In 1997, Boeing was offering such a service on the Mir space station. The users seemed to be willing to pay something like $3-5 million for it. This was a bit unfortunate as Boeing was charging $7 million (and there were also concerns about other matters like lead times). Source: Potomac Institute report, page C-6. According to rumor (unnamed source, 23 Mar 1999) the Potomac Institute report is right about lead times and proprietary agreements but wrong about prices (if not for the Spektr accident in 1997, they would have had customers, according to this rumor).

More on International Space Station commercialization

For the NASA lip service on commercialization, see Commercial Development Plan for the International Space Station (November 1998).

For what NASA is really doing, see the Space Station Control Board (SSCB)'s Report on International Graphics Guidelines (AI 1203-3 in which they forbid advertising on vehicles docking with ISS. It may or may not be much of a barrier to commercialization but if NASA won't take easy actions to enable commercialization, will they take any difficult actions?

This page is part of Jim Kingdon's space markets page.