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Commercial Space: Space Controls and the Invisible Hand

This article reviewed three major projections of the global space industry by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch and extracted the trands that would significantly impact the design of both the domestic and international space traffic management (STM) schemes. If found that, in the next two decades, the United States will have the largest market share in practically every space industrial sector. It suggests how the United States, as well as the West, can use its market power to incentivize Russia and Chinna to fall in line with a STM that provides peace and prosperity to all. It also proposed five measures as building blocks for developing standards, practices, regulations and laws for such STM.

Jun 16, 2019
AUTHOR: Brian G. Chow
Commercial Space- Space Controls and the Invisible Hand (PDF) 326.97 KB

Commerical Space: Space Controls and the Invisible Hand
By Brian G. Chow 1

This article explores how by the use of space controls and the invisible hand in commerce, space can continue to be a peaceful and prosperous place. Let’s first explain what “commercial space”, “space controls”, and “invisible hand” mean.

  • The National Space Policy issued on June 28, 2010 contained the commercial space guidelines, which stated:

“The term ‘commercial,’ for the purposes of this policy, refers to space goods, services, or activities provided by private sector enterprises that bear a reasonable portion of the investment risk and responsibility for the activity, operate in accordance with typical market-based incentives for controlling cost and optimizing return on investment”. 2

The customers for commercial space are from both the private and public sectors; and both domestic and foreign parties.

  • This article argues that, for space control to be efficient, it should be applied through the norms, regulations and laws in commercial space and backed up by military recourse as a last resort.
  • Adam Smith said that the economy can work well, if it is guided by the invisible hand, in which everyone works for his or her own interest. This article argues that this invisible hand can be used in commercial space to help keep space activities profitable and peaceful.

To continue reading, click here.

1.I would like to thank the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center for providing financial support to the preparation of this research article.

2. National Space Policy of the United States of America, June 28, 2010,

The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC), is a 501 (c)3 nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational organization
founded in 1994 to promote a better understanding of strategic weapons proliferation issues. NPEC educates policymakers, journalists,
and university professors about proliferation threats and possible new policies and measures to meet them.
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