Norm Augustine, chair of the White House’s blue-ribbon panel reviewing the space program, recently stated, “NASA ought to be exploring outer space and doing new things, and turning over the transportation of weight and people, goods and people, to low Earth orbit … [as] a commercial endeavor, in our view.” Indeed, the U.S. commercial orbital spaceflight industry is already entrusted to launch multi-billion-dollar satellites for the national security sector, as well as one-of-a-kind scientific missions for NASA.
The chart below, which we’ve created using publicly available data, illustrates that when you add up the markets represented by NASA, other government agencies, and commercial customers, the commercial orbital spaceflight industry is publicly planning over 40 flights to orbit between now and 2014. This is a robust foundation on which to grow the industry to meet Norm Augustine’s stated goal above.
(click on image below to enlarge)
To download a copy of the Commercial Orbital Spaceflight Industry Timeline, click here [pdf].
Augustine quote source: PBS NewsHour, 8/14/2009.