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Speaking Out In Support Of Space Commercialization

Maybe the space station could be commercialized into the ultimate sky high bar
Houston - Oct 15, 2002
How do we get from space stations to hotels, or space shuttles and soyuzes to space liners? What barriers exist to achieving commercialization of space? Which country will lead the commercialization of space? What should NASA, academia and industry be doing now to inspire the next generation of space explorers?

These and other questions will be the focus of a panel discussion on the commercialization of space at the World Space Congress 2002. The special session will take place from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 18 in the World Space Congress Exhibit Hall Theater in Houston, Texas.

NASA�s Flight Commercialization Office at the Johnson Space Center, headed by Brian Kelly, is hosting this panel session with space visionary and Founder of the Space Frontier Foundation, Rick N. Tumlinson as moderator.

Tumlinson, who at times has been critical of NASA, sees the agency as having grown in its understanding of commercial activities. As this session exemplifies, he is hopeful that new partnerships can be forged between the public and private space sectors in the future, to the benefit of both.

Citing the way the International Space Station partners are now dealing with visits to the space station by private citizens ("space flight participants") Tumlinson sees a bright future as government explorers begin to work with private business to realize the true potential of the high frontier.

"A government run research facility in orbit is not a hotel, but when an important partner such as Russia found a way to supplement its program and raise needed capital by tapping the multi-billion dollar tourism industry and selling a ride now and then to the station, NASA and its partners (albeit after a few early mis-steps) grabbed the bull by the horns and created procedures and standards to make the idea work."

He continued: "We have a ways to go before we get to the level of private space stations, hotels and

laboratories. Until then NASA has a tough balancing act to perform. But I see the agency learning, changing, growing and really working hard to live up to its charter, which says it is to: �seek and encourage, to the fullest extent possible, the commercial use of outer space�

The panelists discussing these and other issues include Dennis Tito, California businessman and the first space flight participant to fly aboard the International Space Station; Paul Silber, president of StelSys, LLC, whose company purchased NASA�s bioreactor technology and is now conducting commercial medical research aboard the ISS to develop a type of liver dialysis machine; and Lori Garver, former associate administrator at NASA headquarters and active space flight advocate. Buzz Aldrin, former astronaut and Apollo 11 moonwalker, may also participate.

"We are at the beginning of a new era in space," said Tumlinson. "if we can get it right now, the rewards we get in science, business and inspiration will be unimaginable."

Related Links
World Space Congress
NASA�s Commercialization Program
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ESA/EC To Boost Space-Related Entrepreneurs
Paris (ESA) Sep 19, 2002
European entrepreneurs using space technology and systems now have a better chance of starting up in business thanks to the European Space Incubators Network (ESINET), launched this summer by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission (EC).

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