Once a theater of Cold War rivalry, space has today become the venue for a new competition between nations, corporations, and trailblazing billionaires. As the US government’s budget for space exploration has decreased, so has ended its monopoly on access to space, paving the way for commercial operators to launch satellites and supply research missions. In the years ahead these private endeavors are likely to push the envelope further, sending tourists into orbit, mining asteroids, and, perhaps one day, colonizing the cosmos. Will the costs and risks of commercial space initiatives produce astronomical rewards? Or will technical challenges and legal obstacles bring these private space pioneers back down to earth?
Copies of Christian Davenport’s new book Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos will be available for sale and signing after the program from the Book Cellar.
Background reading and Multimedia
- Boeing and SpaceX are Racing to Bring Astronauts, then Tourist, to Space
Dana Hill and Julie Johnsson, Bloomberg, January 16, 2018
- The New Space Race: How Billionaires Launched the Next Era of Exploration
- Alan Yhas, The Guardian, February 2, 2018
- The Trump Administration Wants to Turn the International Space Station into a Commercially Run Venture, NASA Document Shows
Christian Davenport, The Washington Post, February 11, 2018
- A Disruptor-in-Chief is Driving Japan's Space Dream
Mitsuru Obe, Nikkei Asian Review, February 16, 2018