# Private Space Companies

1. ### Nano-Passion

Are they the future of outerspace? Will they be reliable and take us further than what NASA was able to?

I also don't understand how private companies have commercial interest in something that is so expensive. Can someone explain how they will profit?

2. ### falcon32

79
Who knows what could happen in the future?

As for profits of companies, observe that a profit is simply a net surplus in funds after your transaction.
For a concrete example, although building any kind of a spaceship takes millions, Virgin Galactic (a pioneering private space company) recoups by charging $200k per seat. Of course this means that their only customers are the rich. One thing for sure, though. Until mankind invents a much better type of propulsion to move through space, it stays in the hands of the government and the very wealthy. 3. ### Nano-Passion So the future of space exploration looks pretty bleak... 4. ### falcon32 79 Not at all. It's only a matter of time until we discover the way. 5. ### Nano-Passion A matter of how much time is the question. I feel very nervous of the future of space exploration. How can private companies make profit of things comparable to the hubble telescope? I feel that our knowledge of space might slow down. 6. ### Gabe21 52 if we could figure out an effective way to travel between here and the moon private firms could profit from helium3. there is enough helium3 on the moon to provide earth with 100% clean power for a thousand years at our current power consumption increase rate. 7. ### Drakkith ### Staff: Mentor Except for the fact that we havn't been able to get Fusion Power up and running even with the best fuel yet. Hopefully soon though!! 8. ### jtbell ### Staff: Mentor This doesn't look like physics to me, nor is it about engineering or technology per se. General Discussion? 9. ### mistergrinch 41 A great book on this subject is "Mining the Sky" by John Lewis. He points out that one small asteroid has rare metals worth more than the combined GDP's of the US and China. So the economics of space industry are compelling, but someone will have to make a big push and spend a lot of resources to get out there. Given China's huge need for rare metals and their ability to engineer large scale projects successfully, they seem like the most likely candidate to me. At this point the USA seems pretty broken when it comes to long-term engineering projects like this, but a new space race could change the situation. 10. ### Nano-Passion Seems pretty interesting... still the future of space exploration seems pretty bleak. Its like we came to a halt after the first man on the moon. And I don't mean just mining asteroids for their rare metals. But I guess it is a start seeing as how its so expensive get people in escape velocity of the gravitational pull from Earth. Though, we really need to work on a cheaper alternative at escaping Earth's gravitational pull. I like the idea of the space elevator. Hopefully it works out.. Private space companies in the US as of now are the future of space exploration (in the US). This involves the future of physics, engineering, and technology. 11. ### russ_watters ### Staff: Mentor First, no one answered the OP's initial question: by and large, commercial spaceflight ventures make money by launching stuff into orbit for NASA or for other companies. Second: Typically that last phrase implies the economics are FAVORABLE, but even if there were mountain sized platinum coated diamonds in orbit it would be nowhere near economical to mine them. There is a lot of wishful thinking that goes on about space travel, but that's not reality. 12. ### mistergrinch 41 Really? I'd be curious to see the calculations you made to arrive at this conclusion. 13. ### Gabe21 52 Im pretty sure that was sarcasm. mining an asteroid seems a little far fetched. i wouldent consider that possible until we were well established on the moon. 14. ### Nano-Passion What exactly do you mean by being well-established on the moon? Do you mean establishing space firms on the moon? 15. ### Gabe21 52 i mean a largely self sufficient permanent human presence on the moon. 16. ### russ_watters ### Staff: Mentor It was only half sarcastic, but it has actually been a while since I've checked the math on it. Launching an object into space has for a very long time been estimated at$10,000 a pound and not adjusted for inflation (and returning an object a similar cost), but at current platinum prices (\$28,000 / lb), you could bring platinum back from low earth orbit for a profit. A more realistic scenario of mining it from the moon increases the cost by an order of magnitude and makes it uneconomical. An asteroid is of course even worse.

Diamonds are actually much more valuable, but they are so scarce, especially at larger sizes, that a new large supply of diamonds would vastly reduce their value. So I don't think it is useful to try to calculate. The same is true but to a much lesser extent for precious metals.

17. ### Nano-Passion

Its interesting enough but how can we sustain enough water and food on the moon?

52