1st Edition

The Space Industry of the Future Capitalism and Sustainability in Outer Space

By Mark W. McElroy Jr Copyright 2023
    206 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    206 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Space Industry of the Future consists of the first instance of guidance for the space industry on how value creation in space can occur for the greater benefit of humanity using principles of capitalism and sustainability. The timing of this book is ideal given (1) sustainability challenges facing humanity and (2) that the growth of the commercial space economy is now occurring at a rate never seen before. This book presents an opportune guide written for technical, business, and policy practitioners alike that frames how this industry growth should occur from an integrated values and commercial perspective. This perspective is presented in the context of the modern technical capabilities of space systems relative to the world’s greatest problems.

    The guidance contained in this book for the growing commercial space industry includes considerations beyond profit seeking alone. This guidance is founded on a bespoke value creation criteria to apply in the context of for-profit outer space activities that, if used, will result in the maximum value creation that a company is capable of. The criteria are developed and presented through a rigorous discussion on capitalism, economics, value theory, the circular economy, stakeholder management, and ethics. The value creation criteria are then discussed at length in relation to the space industry.

    The primary audience for this book is practitioners within the space industry; this includes investors, business managers, policy makers, engineers, and scientists. The secondary audience includes students and researchers, as well as a growing range of parties interested in space policy and entrepreneurship.



    Unique Value from Space Systems

    Space Industry Commercialization: A Brief Introduction

    The Space Industry Today

    What Should be Done in Space?

    Capitalism Today

    Capitalism + Space: Next Steps

    Look Ahead


    Capitalism: The Basics

    History of Capitalism

    Merchant Trade Caravans


    Shareholder Primacy

    History of Capitalism: Reflecting on the Space Industry


    The Future of Capitalism

    Building Momentum

    Business as a Solution

    Stakeholder Management

    Circular Economy

    Value Creation

    History of Value Theory

    Building on Multiple Value Perspectives

    Intrinsic Value

    Intrinsic vs. Instrumental


    Intrinsic Value in Practice

    Stakeholder Intrinsic Value

    Degrees of Stakeholder Intrinsic Value

    Role of Profitability and Stakeholders

    Stakeholder Intrinsic Value: Defined

    Stakeholder Intrinsic Value Creation in Space

    Remote Sensing, Telecommunications, and GNSS for Value Creation

    Increasing Value Creation in Space

    Spin-off Technology

    Commercialization of Space Systems

    Government vs. Commercial

    Commercialization Criteria

    Excludability and Rivalry of Space Industry Activities

    Commercialization of Mir, the Space Shuttle, and the International Space Station

    Commercialization (or not) of Remote Sensing Data

    Commercialization of Meteorological Data

    Commercialization of Climate Data

    Remote Sensing Commercialization Case Study: Landsat

    Commercialization of Remote Sensing Data: Summary

    Commercialization of Telecommunications Data

    Commercialization of Space Systems: Closing Remarks

    Sustainability in the Space Industry

    Defining Sustainability for the Space Industry

    Sustainability of Space Industry Activities on Earth

    Space Hardware Production Environmental Impacts: An Overview

    Life Cycle Assessment Overview

    Life Cycle Assessments in the Space Industry

    Environmental Impacts from the Space Industry

    Sustainability of Space Industry Activities on Earth: Summary

    Sustainability of Space Industry Activities in Orbit

    More Spacecraft Than Ever

    Space Debris: The Problem

    Space Debris: Mitigations

    Other Space Debris Mitigation Approaches

    Radiofrequency Allocation

    Sustainability of Space Industry Activities in Orbit: Summary

    Sustainability Solutions for Humanity Supported by the Space Industry

    UN Sustainable Development Goals: Introduction

    SDGs and Stakeholder Intrinsic Value

    SDG 1: No Poverty

    SDG 2: Zero-Hunger

    SDG 3: Good Health and Well Being

    SDG 4: Quality Education

    SDG 5: Gender Equality

    SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

    SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

    SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

    SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

    SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

    SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

    SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

    SDG 13: Climate Action

    SDG 14: Life Below Water

    SDG 15: Life on Land

    SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

    SDG 17: Partnerships

    The Business of Human Space Exploration

    Why Should Humans go to Space?

    Space Tourism

    Space Resources

    Deep Space Cargo and Telecommunications Services

    Commercial Human Space Exploration?

    Stakeholder Intrinsic Value Criteria in Deep Space

    Harmony of the Space Economy in Deep Space

    Space Environments with Instrumental Value

    Space Environments with the Potential for Life

    Space Environments Devoid of Life and Instrumental Value

    Space Environments Devoid of Everything

    Deep Space Sustainability: In Conclusion

    Maximum Value Creation in Space: Some Answers


    Achieving Maximum Value Creation in the Space Industry: A Recap

    Closing Remarks





    Mark W. McElroy Jr works as a technical manager in commercial satellite propulsion projects. Previously, he worked as an engineer at NASA for nine years. In his initial years at NASA, Dr. McElroy obtained a PhD in Aerospace Engineering and performed research on aerospace composite structures. Later, he became involved in technical management within the Artemis campaign to send humans to the Moon and Mars. Dr. McElroy’s roles in the Artemis campaign included system management in the Orion exploration vehicle program, technical consulting in the next generation space suit program, and serving as the Assistant Chief Engineer in the Gateway lunar space station program. Through Dr. McElroy’s tenure at NASA, he has gained a broad exposure to the space industry in both the United States and Europe offering a thorough vantage point on how a diverse set of modern space companies operate, manage projects, innovate, and create value. Prior to his time working in the space industry, Dr. McElroy was a structural engineer in the naval shipbuilding and gas turbine industries.

    "McElroy has come to this subject through curiosity. With an engineering career that has spanned naval shipbuilding, nearly a decade at NASA working on Artemis and Gateway, and now working as a Technical Manager in satellite propulsion, he has a wide view of the industry, and has researched the subject in depth."

    Libby Jackson FRAeSRoyal Aeronautical Society, UK