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The Private Space Industry Revolution

Presented in cooperation with George Mason University Observatory

Evening Course

Friday, September 30, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0198D
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SpaceX CRS-1 Falcon 9 launches (Photo: Steve Jurvetson)

Save when you purchase the Private Space Industry Revolution course!

We are living through a revolution in the private space industry, with the successful launches of reusable first-stage rockets, 3-D printed rockets, and small rockets that can deliver small payloads to a low-earth orbit for the cost of a single Super Bowl ad. NASA is returning to the Moon after more than half a century and has launched American astronauts from native soil for the first time since the Space Shuttle era.

The potential for the transformational lowering of the costs of accessing space, space tourism, and future commercial space stations is driving a complete rethinking of the engineering and cost cycles of satellites and space exploration. 

But with the threat of increased light pollution to potential satellite collisions and “mega-constellations” formed out of the sheer volume of satellites in Earth’s orbit, do the pros outweigh the cons?

The opportunities and challenges of the private space industry revolution raise questions about legality and environmental impact. U.S. and international policy and laws have not caught up to the new "wild west" of the space frontier. Should low-earth orbit fall under environmental protection laws? What happens when multiple nations beyond the U.S, start launching their own satellite mega-constellations?

Expert astronomers and pioneers in the private space industry weigh in on the future in a series of talks and a panel discussion.

Session Information

SpaceX and the Rise of the Commercial Space Industry

Eric Berger, senior space editor at Ars Technica, talks about how the commercial space industry is rapidly transforming space exploration and the consequences for astronomy and planetary science.

Moderated by Peter Plavchan, director of the George Mason University Observatory, the session includes a panel discussion with Berger and three other experts:

  • Charles Miller, a serial space entrepreneur
  • Meredith Rawls, research scientist
  • Samantha Lawler, a professor of astronomy at the University of Regina, Canada

Plavchan brings the skies into your living room with remote control of the GMU Observatory, weather permitting.

Additional Sessions

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Inside Science

This online program is presented on Zoom.