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Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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PARTNERS: up InDustrIes A nd it might even seem crazy, but Canada's space and min- ing communities have the po- tential to be the world – if not off-world – leaders in this strategically and economically vital sector of the nascent space economy. Commercial space industry leaders are bullish on space mining because the rewards are almost unimaginably high. A single near-earth asteroid could have more platinum group metals than has been mined in all human history. Water from asteroids can be used to refuel both rockets and satellites, forever changing the cost of space ac- tivities. It is all but certain that in situ resources from space will become the key economic driver for development beyond Earth's atmosphere. Given the potential payoff, competition is growing day by day. It is a space race in- creasingly fueled by dedicated government support. Case in point: The United States and Luxembourg have passed regulatory and legal changes to encourage prospect- ing in space. Luxembourg even created a public sector investment fund of €200M to encourage commercial space startups. The other critical ingredient is moti- vated entrepreneurs, of which there are now several. Beginning with the founding of Moon Express in 2010, and followed shortly thereafter by Planetary Resources in 2012 and Deep Space Industries (DSI) in 2013, these companies have been designing space-based services strategically planned to address space mining's largest barriers. There is also real evidence of technologi- cal progress, as an example, the DSI Com- et-1 CubeSat Water Thruster uses water as a propellant for small satellites; the com- pany hopes to increase in situ demand for water, which coincidentally is the resource they plan to mine. To date, they've had six units ordered, which are scheduled for de- livery in 2017. Proving that the investment is paying off, at least from the perspective of creating technology that is quite literally fueling a space-industry eco-system based around space-based resource extraction. The companies, and governments, who are first movers will create commercial oppor- tunities that could last for generations. The canary in the space mine: government support Leaders in space mining are pushing the technological and commercial envelope as they forge connections between America's innovation heartland and Washington. The first three space mining companies were based on the West Coast of the United States and funded by Silicon Valley venture capital. They quickly found support from the United States government. In 2015, Congress enacted legislation which rec- ognized property rights for asteroid pros- pectors through the SPACE Act, allaying investor fears about the 1967 Outer Space Treaty position on national appropriation. Since then, funding for space mining has far outpaced traditional timelines for space initiatives, underscoring the impor- tance of government backing for space en- trepreneurship. The same year, Planetary Resources and DSI secured two NASA grants to develop critical infrared imaging technologies. Followed the year after by a Series A funding for $22M, while Moon Express & DSI netted a collective $23M over the same time horizon. All of which occurred before the United Nations Com- mittee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOUS) had the chance to debate the legality of the United States Space Act formally. UNCOPUOUS has begun that debate this year, and in the meantime, com- mercial space has continued rapid develop- ment towards space mining. Meanwhile, Luxembourg has followed developments very closely in the U.S. and has taken this model and run with it. Argu- ably a leader in space since the founding of SES in 1985, Luxembourg has exceeded the support of the United States for space min- ing. Luxembourg has passed resource legal- ization, and then went further by creating to those who haVen't been paying attention, space mining may sound more like a far-off fantasy plucked out of star trek or star wars than a plausible inVestment opportunity. DECEMBER 2017/JANUARY 2018 21 BY KYLE vAN hooREN

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