The Next Frontier - Commercialization of the Lunar Surface and CisLunar Space in the 21st Century

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W. Lin; K. Dholakia; E. Elliott (2010), JBIS, 63, 53-60

Refcode: 2010.63.53
Keywords: Space commercialization, lunar exploration, lunar development, lunar colonization, international cooperation, property rights, cislunar space

Over the past three decades, commercial activities in space, such as telecommunications, satellite launch system mapping and remote sensing for natural resources and weather prediction, among others, have become increasingly important aspects of economic activity. While still contributing only a small part to overall economic growth, such activities are likely to gain increasing importance over the next several decades. This paper examines the possibilities and potential problems in bringing to fruition a new era in commercial applications on the Moon and in cislunar (between the Earth and the Moon) space. The authors provide a brief history of space exploration and how this history provides a basis for understanding ongoing developments. This is followed by a discussion of timelines for lunar commercial developments, and potential specific applications of commercial activities on the Lunar surface and in cislunar space. Various hurdles to success, including technical issues, incentives, and property rights concerns are noted. While the authors recognize that most potential commercial prospects are decades away, there are some commercial activities that are worthy of early attention.

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