The Next Decade in Commercial Spaceflight


When you consider all of our nation’s spaceflight triumphs, it’s easy to forget that mankind has only been a spacefaring species for 54 years. Everything in the entire history of spaceflight has occurred in the last five decades: we’ve put a dozen men on the Moon, we’ve built and occupied an International Space Station, we’ve photographed hundreds of billions of galaxies, we’ve sent a probe into interstellar space, and we’ve witnessed the revolutionary birth of a private space industry, headed primarily by entrepreneurs.

I enjoy contributing my small part to mankind’s incremental expansion in the solar system. By day, I work with reusable rockets at Masten Space Systems, and by night, I monopolize dinner conversation with the wonders of spaceflight.

I’m not a big fan of industry predictions. Looking back, they often miss the mark, over-promising capabilities and undervaluing applications. For instance, who could have predicted the profound societal impacts of GPS, satellite television, and the shock-absorbing soles of Nike Air Max? Frankly, I think Michael Jordan could express a little more gratitude to space exploration. The last decade has seen the birth and rapid growth of a private spaceflight industry that’s unlocking commercial launch services, space tourism, orbital and lunar destinations, commercial space stations, asteroid mining, and everything in between. Instead of predictions, I’ll share with you my top five personal expectations for the next decade in the commercial spaceflight industry:

1. I’m Going to Space.

(c) Steve Boxall for Zero G Corp.

A taste of space, flying weightless during a zero gravity parabolic flight.

In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin earned the distinct honor of being the first human to journey into space. Today, in 2015, fewer than 600 people have followed in his footsteps. That’s all about to change. More than 1000 people have already pre-purchased tickets for space tourism —> Read More