OEP4International lunar decade - towards a self-sustaining space economy
|Convener: V. Beldavs | Co-Convener: B. Foing|
In mid-November, 2014 an international group gathered in Hawaii at the conference “Next Giant Leap: Leveraging Lunar Assets for Sustainable Pathways to Space” to issue the International Lunar Decade (ILD) Declaration. The central premises of ILD are:
1. Economic use of space resources is a precondition for sustainable activities in space that do not generate profits by meeting needs on Earth. Space settlement requires living off the land.
2. There is no business case for use of space resources and for a self-sustaining space economy. Markets for space resources do not exist. Technologies to mine and process space resources need to be developed. Even the legal right to use space resources within existing space law is questioned.
3. Within a decade strategically directed international cooperation can build the basis for a self-sustaining space economy.
The ILD provides a framework for strategically directed international cooperation aimed at driving down the costs of activities in cislunar space and on the Moon as well as creating markets for space resources.
If the ILD framework would be internationally adopted by 2020, then by 2030 the feasibility of a self-sustaining space economy could be demonstrated which would drive increasing private investment in space. Feasibility of a self-sustaining space economy would be characterized by an outlook for long term profitability of an increasing range of activities in space marked by declining costs of doing things in space, lower and more defined levels of risks, emerging markets for products made from space resources and a widening range of business opportunities in space.
Governments operating within the ILD framework would agree on policies and measures that encourage the emergence of markets for space resources within a defined timeframe. Policies would guide international agreement on the granting of rights to space resources as well as for rules for the establishment of markets for space resources as well as policies to guide the use of infrastructure established in space. Measures would include the financing of strategic infrastructure, support for research and development of enabling technologies and innovation as well as guarantees and other incentives for business development, especially by small and medium-sized enterprises. The space frontier will be opened through international cooperation and private – public partnerships.
The emergence of a sustainable space economy will be marked by an increasing range of space activities financed through profits resulting from business in space rather than from taxpayers on Earth. Currently, the space economy generates over $400 billion. Given adoption of the ILD framework the space economy could exceed $1 trillion by 2030 and $10 trillion by 2050. The technologies developed for space could address climate change, planetary defense and other challenges and create increasing numbers of quality jobs on Earth and in space.
The ILD is a framework for international action where all states, large and small, can cooperate to develop the promise of space.
Session Chair - V. Z. Beldavs
Introduction - 5 minutes - V.Z. Beldavs
B. H. Foing (20 minutes) - Moon Village: Frame & Opportunity for Space Economy
V. Z. Beldavs (10 minutes) - International Lunar Decade Status
J. Sommers (20 minutes) - The Resurrection of Malthus: space as the final escape from the law of diminishing returns
M. E. Turner (20 minutes) - Commercial Lunar ISRU for the Space Launch Industry: Cruder is Better
V. Z. Beldavs (20 minutes) - Space strategy for Europe and the International Lunar Decade
L. Czechowski - Rationalisation of the Solar System
J. Sommers and V.Z. Beldavs - “Journal of Space Economics – theoretical and practical considerations”