For Elon Musk, CEO and founder of SpaceX, space exploration is the new target. Musk, along with other billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Paul Allen, and Richard Branson, has launched a space race that once again captures the public’s imagination. Traditionally regarded as an uncertain and expensive business, increasingly more private space companies pop up and invest in the space industry.
Asteroids mining and space tourism are around the corner
It’s not just about satellites or rockets, as asteroids mining and space tourism are also being prepared. In April, Goldman Sachs stated that asteroid mining “could be more realistic than perceived” due to reduced launch costs and the vast amounts of untapped resources these space objects hold.
Also, more recently, a NASA report stated that the profitability of asteroids mining is astronomical, reaching $700 quintillion.
Until now, the space economy has focused on the Earth’s orbit, linked to observation and telecommunications. Of the $350 billion the industry, an estimated 70% is attributable to services derived from satellite technology.
Space tourism, on the other hand, is just around the corner, as many private space companies are already working on offering private space trips and on building space stations for accommodation.
The new space race has begun, and the private space companies own the space
A new type of space race seems to be taking shape, in which private space companies will charter their ships under the auspices of the states, but within the framework of private operations.
In July last year, for example, the Grand Ducal parliament passed a law declaring that if a Luxembourg-based company launches a spacecraft and obtains any profits, whatsoever, be it from asteroids mining or anything else, all the benefits will be considered the legitimate private property of that company.
“Regulations are necessary to ensure space sustainability and other issues for which nations are responsible through their treaty obligations,” says Henry Hertzfeld, professor of space policy and international affairs at George Washington University. “What is at stake is how to interpret these treaties and other norms and the processes by which each nation implements them. And Luxembourg has decided to opt for the most liberal interpretation possible,” he added.
Therefore, the new space race has already begun, and private space companies will own the space.