The "business as usual" approach to conducting space-based science is not working. Space science is not the priority of national governments and as such receives limited funding.
The authors make a compelling case that global or even national finance markets can support large-scale science and space activities and that this wave has already begun. It is clear from NASA's sky surveys that the Earth exists in a shooting gallery of asteroids. New companies are scrambling to reach the asteroid belt and the massive resource deposits there. It was government-funded activities and exploration that revealed these compelling threats and opportunities to humanity, but government space exploration funding is at an all-time low.
The white paper lists several examples such as the Private Finance Initiative experience in the UK (a public-private partnership resulting in the development of a satellite constellation for the UK Ministry of Defense), the privatization of a nine-year-old, $150,000,000 NASA mission called the Galaxy Evolution Explorer Telescope, and several more.
The issue of market risk associated with space science missions is discussed in relation to financing them; whereby reducing the market risk could provide an opportunity for a substantial infusion of private capital.
The private sector has large amounts of available capital that could be applied to space projects if governments would minimize or eliminate "market risk."
Given the bevy of catastrophes that can befall a planet, it is clear that the next frontier of human evolution involves not only protecting humanity from possible extinction from a large asteroid, but also ensuring that humanity becomes a multi-planetary species. In that case the subject of space science finance is of tremendous importance, and directly tied to the evolution and sustainability of the human species.
Mega-scale science projects such as ground and space-based telescopes, particle physics experiments, and more are under extreme pressure in a modern world preoccupied with other issues considered more pressing.
It is not an overstatement to say that global human progress and the evolution of humanity is under pressure due to these factors that channel government funding away from space science.
The authors make a compelling case that global or even national finance markets can support large-scale science and space activities, and that this wave has already begun.
The white paper "Innovative Models for Private Financing of Space Science Missions" is available at: http://www.iisc.im/news.asp. The paper will also soon be available for free download on iTunes Books, optimized for iPads.
The International Institute of Space Commerce, or simply 'the Institute,' has been established on the Isle of Man through a partnership between the International Space University (ISU) and the Manx Government. The Institute's mission is to become the leading think tank in the study of the economics of space. It is intended to be the intellectual home for the Industry and Space Academia around the world for which it shall perform studies, evaluations and provide services to all interested parties, with the ultimate aim to promote and enhance the world's space commerce to the general public.
The Institute is a not for profit foundation and has been located at the International Business School (IBS) on the Isle of Man to capitalize on the Isle of Man's growing importance and position in the world's space industry.