Democratization of Space

During one of our space Brain Trust meeting, experts came up with a vision that by 2040 people of diverse backgrounds explore space and support exploration, enriching the human experience. Also, space is shared by all nations and people, including non-governmental entities.

We want to learn from you:

  • What is necessary for us to address in order to ensure access to space is democratized and open to all people?
  • What barriers prevent a diverse set of people to experience space exploration?

Hi @manuel.ntumba and @amirsiraj - Given your vast knowledge in the space domain, we would love to hear thoughts on the above mentioned vision and what are the key barriers in realizing this vision.

@Shashi I guess I have addressed so much of your concerns here under the Barriers faced in African Space Tourism.
This may merely be from an African perspective but ignoring the facts tables herein would in itself be a barrier to the Democratization of Space.

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Hi @AngeloVermeulen and @derleth,
Given your experience in this field, we would love to have your thoughts on democratization of space.

We would also like to learn from you what barriers prevent a diverse set of people to experience space exploration.

@Shashi The number one barrier is the lack of relevant infrastructure., coupled with the inadequacy of finances to put up such venture.

Democratization of space cannot happen until there is a good reason for “regular folks” to go into space. Space tourism at $250,000 per seat, or even $25,000 per seat is not reason enough.

Space people have been looking for a “killer app” for space for a long time. Nobody’s found one yet. I think we should stop looking for a killer app. I don’t think there is one.

BUT.

There is one thing that has always driven the human race forward. Exploration of the unknown is a powerful drive, deep within the psyche of the human mind.

IF

a real place to go is created, that provides real opportunities for the people who choose to go, I believe that there would be a renaissance in space. How can we get there? An O’Neill colony at the asteroids, if the society were carefully structured to not take advantage of people, could create the right incentives for people to go. To get there from here probably requires three things:

  1. low cost, safe access to space
  2. easy access to usable in-space resources
  3. leadership that is intent on sharing wealth with workers to provide a good incentive to risk everything to go into space

There are likely other things needed, as well, but that’s what I can think of for now.

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@derleth Yeah, we certainly do badly need an incentive for the regular folks.

An interesting article: Space tourism, 20 years in the making, is finally ready for launch

The billionaire led space tourism industry will only profit them and thier investors instead of democratising space.

Space travel, we are often told, is about inspiring generations to pursue careers in science or technology that push humanity forward in its inexorable march into the future. The current reality, however, is that it’s main purpose is to bolster private profit and international stature—both of which detract and distract from public and domestic problems like hunger, homelessness, and the risk of ecological catastrophe.

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The important thing is precisely to democratize the space through reforms (socially and legally) and what this would imply for the rest of the population because it is advancing very fast, probably some things will be modified in countries that are interested or not in this activity, precisely to verify new opportunities and difficulties.

Barriers - Democratization of Space:

Interdisciplinary inclusion and public participation are very important factors for the Democratization of space. Because it requires experts from all the subfields of space studies: space law, policy, space commerce, space economy, space applications, and many more. The limited number of experts in these subfields represents a barrier for regulations and decision-making on space settlements, space mining, space debris mitigation, Human rights in space, and many more.

@Shashi @NickOttens @DavidPoli

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Will you be an ‘astronaut’?
Space tourists (or their families) can’t claim for compensation under the 1972 UN Liability Convention which, in terms of space, applies only to collisions between space objects such as satellites and space debris. While there may be scope to take legal action under national laws, it is likely space tourists will be asked to sign carefully worded waivers of liability.

The same is probably true of international air law, which applies to “aircraft” — a designation space tourism operators will understandably be keen to avoid.
Ultimately, we may need to develop a system of “aerospace law” to govern these suborbital flights as well as “transorbital” transport such as the keenly envisaged flights that might one day take passengers from Sydney to London in just a few hours.

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