Vladimir Dobrydnyev and Victoria Rapova

A new space colonization era is the availability of space transport for small businesses.

Victoriya Rapova, Vladimir Dobrydnev

A brief note [1] from 26 April 2013 contained the following statement: “If in the next 10-15 years in the Russian Federation there is no support of space colonization by private companies , no one will have any interest in the Russian «Proton» [2] and other rockets for hundreds of millions of dollars, because the space economy will be based on other prices, much smaller than tens of millions of dollars.” It seems that note author’s vision about space economy is coming true.
At first, space companies in the USA, Western Europe, China and Japan will earn hundreds of millions of dollars for near space colonization, for example, space tourism, unmanned space laboratories for pharmaceutical companies, etc, and then they will form a market of available space services . Entrance of new players to this market will be complicated at the legislative level because there will be an organization like space WTO. As we know, countries that created WTO have the greatest advantages.
So, two weeks ago, on 14th of September 2013, The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) [3] launched the Epsilon carrier rocket [4]. Rocket height is 24,4 meters, payload mass is 9,6 tons. Cost of this launch was $38.5 million – almost twice cheaper than $76 million spent for the M-V rocket launched in 2006. And now we give for reference Russian rocket «Proton-K» parameters: length without payload is 42,3 meters, diameter is 4,1 meters, and maximum crosswise size is 7,4 meters. Launching mass without payload is 700 tons. «Proton-K» is able to launch 20,6 tons of payload into the low Earth orbit, or 2.3 tons into the geostationary orbit. Increasing popularity of miniature satellites among government agencies, universities and commercial firms all over the world forces engineers to create new lower weight rockets.
For example, Virgin Galactic Corp. [5] is developing a two-stage rocket for sending 225 kilograms of payload into the near-Earth orbit. Test flights are scheduled for 2015 and commercial sales are planned to begin in 2016.
To identify promising technologies, NASA launched the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Small Business Technology Transfer program [6]. In April, Garvey Spacecraft of Long Beach got nearly $200,000 for designing a two-stage launch vehicle capable of sending a 10-kilogram payload into the near-Earth orbit (250 kilometers).
Though our journal publishes articles and notes about peaceful space colonization, in this case it’s necessary to mention the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) [8], that also supports many civil projects. This agency plans to create a carrier rocket capable of sending 45-kilogram payload into the near-Earth orbit. Flight cost will be $1 million. To imagine scale and significance of these rockets’ appearance , we will give one example. Appearance of such rockets is comparable with consequences of oil prices downturn for oil producing countries. The world comes to a new epoch of space transportation being available for small business. Both number of customers and number of adjacent services will increase with decreasing the cost for launching a carrier rocket. We will talk about these services in our next note.

[1] http://jour.space/notes/what-is-the-space-colonization/
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proton_(rocket_family)
[3] http://www.jaxa.jp/index_e.html
[4] http://www.jaxa.jp/projects/rockets/epsilon/index_e.html
[5] http://www.virgingalactic.com/
[6] http://www.sbir.gov/
[7] http://www.garvspace.com/
[8] http://www.darpa.mil/