By September 16, 2019 Read More →

Private sector key in driving commercial space exploration

Despite multiple attempts to foster a cross-fertilisation with commercial activities, outer space exploration and human spaceflight – two domains intrinsically related – remain essentially funded and led by governments through national and international programmes. The substantial cost of space exploration missions and lack of business case (so far) limited the emergence of commercial leadership in this field.

As a consequence, and despite a strong political will, the involvement of commercial actors in space exploration programmes remained limited, in general, to the role of contractors.

This situation evolved to some extent with the retirement of the Space Shuttle and the introduction of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) programme. Driven by the objective to improve cost-effectiveness and share development and operations risks with private partners, NASA implemented a procurement scheme based on competitive, performance-based, fixed-price milestones.

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