New Report Calls for an American Economy in Space
For the first time, three branches of the US government–the US Space Force, the Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Unit, and the Air Force Research Laboratory–have issued a report together, the 2021 State of the Space Industrial Base Report. And that report has been endorsed by both the NASA Administrator and the Space Force Chief of Space Operations
The report shows that if we want to stay ahead of China and uplift even the poorest among us, we have to turn to life’s next resource base, space. Or, as Howard Bloom, head of the Space Development Steering Committee and the man who co-founded the Asian Technology Summit, puts it, “Space can save the earth.”
On December 1, Vice President Kamala Harris will convene the National Space Council for the first time in the Biden Administration. One of the editors of the State of the Space Industrial Base report says, “It is time for our nation and the National Space Council to adopt the recommendations of this report and make it America’s national plan and North Star Vision. If the National Space Council adopts even half of the recommendations of the 2021 State of the Space Industrial Base Report, it will place our nation on the path for a boundless and bountiful future in space.”
The 2021 State of the Space Industrial Base report calls on our nation’s leaders to make space development and settlement the national vision. “Development means mining in the sky, not here on earth,” says Bloom. “And settlement means building human communities and planting ecosystems on the moon, Mars, and in the spaces in between. Together, development and settlement mean opening something new, something that will nourish the earth for centuries to come, a space economy.”
The State of the Space Industrial Base report urges the nation’s leaders:
· to expand our economy beyond the sky by constructing a Space Super Highway,
· to use the raw materials on the moon and in asteroids.
· to build a Cislunar economy of in-space manufacturing. Cislunar means mining on the moon and manufacturing on the moon or in the space between the moon and Earth.
Adds Bloom, “To build a green economy we need rare earth metals and lithium. The supply of these elements here on earth is limited and it can only be extracted by huge mining operations that wipe out ecosystems and scar the landscape. But asteroids are rich in the rare earth minerals and lithium that a green economy demands.”
In the past, we’ve depended on NASA to put humans into space. But the State of the Space Industrial Base report says that private sector companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Northrop Grumman can be the engines of space development and space settlement. Says the report, the private sector has become a major source of space innovation. The report also recognizes that from here on out, rockets will have to be reusable to bring down the cost of launch and to establish a space transportation system that operates as reliably as an airline, with scheduled flights every day.
Finally, the report showcases the vast potential of Space Solar Power to end Climate Change and calls on the nation to begin a space solar power program. As Bloom says, “Space solar power can end the use of fossil fuels for energy production. In other words, space solar power can end the biggest source of human greenhouse gases. And, according to my late partner in space solar power, India’s eleventh president, Dr. APJ Kalam, space solar power can lift two billion people out of poverty.”
Clean energy tech needs to be pursued despite the mining it involves, New Scientist, November 11, 2021,