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Historical Analogs

for the Stimulation of Space Commerce

An image of base camp on the moon.

By Roger D. Launius

With the rise of a range of private-sector entrepreneurial firms interested in pursuing space commerce, the process whereby their efforts might be incubated, fostered, and expanded comes to the fore as an important public policy concern in a way never before present in the Space Age. In the United States we are witnessing the convergence of several powerful economic forces, including the need to restore American capability to reach low-Earth orbit (LEO) for the servicing of the International Space Station (ISS) and the rise of a hospitality/tourism/entertainment industry interested in space.

Through these case studies, we explore how to apply more effectively already-tested models of government support for commercial activities, as well as the interactions of both the public and private spheres in a new opportunity zone in space. In each case, a summation yields a range of key points.