|Elon Musk in front of the Falcon 9 in March 2010|
But even then, this wasn't totally accurate.
The June 19th article references two small venture capitol investments in Space-X (from Founders Fund and Draper Fisher Jurvetson) and X-Cor Aerospace (from Boston Harbor Angels) and suggested they were the beginning of a trend.
|2007 X-Cor liquid methane rocket engine test.|
These deals are more than just the signing of letters of agreement such as was announced in the December 20th, 2010 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) press release titled "NASA Selects Companies for Future Lunar Demonstration Data" which lists three companies receiving delivery orders under the Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data (ILDD) project to develop vehicle capabilities and demonstrate end-to-end robotic lunar landing missions.
|Sample Clyde Space cubesat.|
But venture financing provides money up front and needs criteria for assessing the capabilities and competence of the start-ups in advance.
Fortunately, some of the theoretical underpinning for this emerging industry are being slowly worked out in a variety of online locations such as The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston (one of the acknowledged experts on the commercial and business aspects of space) and the Space Cynics Blog (which recently began collecting information on advances in terrestrial solar power).
But lately, the best assessments of the commercial validity of some of the more exotic space focused business plans have been coming from the Space Business Blog.
Focused on "business thinking about the space frontier, spreadsheets, marketing and making money" the blog has run a variety of useful interviews and assessments of proposed space focused business plans including:
- Asteroid Mining (under the title "Mining Asteroids is Hard").
- The uses and cost effectiveness of low and geostationary Earth orbit tugs (the "LEO-to-GEO Tug series" where he calls it "Cheaper than a Delta IV Heavy").
- The series on "Servicing Iridium's Satellite Constellation."
- An interesting application for something called the Variable Gravity Research Facility under the title "Gravity for Sale."
- An article on "Lunar Property Rights; A Moon Base Business Case" which bounces around the idea of using lunar land grants to fund a Moon base and compares it to the railroads of the 19th century, which used land grants to fund their westward expansion.
As mentioned at the start of this piece, they are the beginning of a trend.