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Non-profit corporations in space

Posted by: NeuronExMachina - Mon Sep 06, 2004 3:04 am
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Non-profit corporations in space 
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Post Non-profit corporations in space   Posted on: Mon Sep 06, 2004 3:04 am
Many have criticized private spaceflight by saying that there are many space-related endeavours which are either not profitable or only profitable in the very long term. Do you think that this means that space should remain primarily the domain of government, or can non-profit organizations fill in this gap?

Personally, I think they can. There are many people who are passionate about space who also have (varying degrees of) money to spare. Heck, we already have groups like the Planetary Society and the Mars Society, some of which have at least attempted small space missions. As launch costs get cheaper, these missions will increase in scale, leading to an even greater number of donations.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Sep 06, 2004 3:25 am
Its a definite possibility. I think.

But thats a lot of big donations. Multiple 8 or nine digit donations.

That is some serious Fundraising.

Maybe if PlanBush gets killed you could argue that its "for the good of mankind"

But who's going to donate billions to something the Governments doing anyway.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Sep 06, 2004 4:11 am
idiom wrote:
But thats a lot of big donations. Multiple 8 or nine digit donations.

That is some serious Fundraising.


I picked a random non-profit off the top of my head, March of Dimes. According to their 2003 annual report, in that year alone they received $217.5 million in donations. As another example, the non-profit Howard Hughes Medical Institute has an endowment of $11 billion, with an annual expenditure of $450 million.

Let's say a space non-profit makes $100 million a year. If SpaceX pulls through with their Falcon V and makes LEO payloads of a few thousand kilograms available at $12 million a shot, that's a whole lot of space research and exploration you can do.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Sep 06, 2004 10:04 pm
Yeah but you just listed hospitals and saving babies.

Making a low cost economic launch vehicle is not saving babies. Well it is but its really had to show that to people handing out money.

Donated money is also expected to get a high ROI, but of goodwill to mankind instead of share dividends.

I think if the Mars society pushed toward largescale colonisation of Mars that might count, but you have to get the vision right.

I have worked for charities all my life, the last one went under because nodoby understood what they were giving to.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 07, 2004 2:06 am
idiom wrote:
Yeah but you just listed hospitals and saving babies.

Making a low cost economic launch vehicle is not saving babies. Well it is but its really had to show that to people handing out money.


This is true -- funding space exploration has a very different emotional appeal from funding health research. However, it can be considered in many ways a different market, which has largely been untapped so far. As I mentioned previously, the Planetary Society and Mars Society somewhat occupy this niche (I couldn't find any funding data on them), but high launch costs have severely limited what they could do thus far. Low launch costs would allow some high profile missions, which would rake in large amounts of cash, which would in turn allow even more high profile missions.

Apparently the Beagle 2, a single (unfortunately failed) Mars probe, received $80 million in private funding.

I found an interesting factoid on this page: "the United States has more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations, with aggregate annual revenues exceeding $750 billion, or about 15% percent of the nation’s gross national product."


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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 08, 2004 3:22 am
NeuronExMachina wrote:
Apparently the Beagle 2, a single (unfortunately failed) Mars probe, received $80 million in private funding.

I found an interesting factoid on this page: "the United States has more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations, with aggregate annual revenues exceeding $750 billion, or about 15% percent of the nation’s gross national product."


I hadn't heard about the $80 million of private funding for the Beagle 2.

In addition to the nonprofit organizations, there are venture capitalists like Paul Allen, who is funding SpaceShipOne. September 29, I can't wait. :lol:

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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 15, 2004 12:39 am
I think the more realistic view of our industry is that most of us trying to make business simply don't have the business related experience we need to make a good go of it. When we propose silly notions with no profits or profits far in the future, you all should be immediately suspicious of us.

When we get the business experience we need or someone with credibility enters our field, I think you all will discover there are profitable products and services and we should be able to make our businesses work. This is beginning to happen now with the entry of both types of experience, so don't think I'm knocking everyone. 8)

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Post    Posted on: Fri Sep 24, 2004 10:33 am
Hello, NeuronExMachina,

I would mention - and prefer - NPOs like the both you listed in your initial post.

There are a very much NPOs like that to be listed and it would be interesting by what the members of each of these organizations are counting - and by what their member in total are counting without counting anyone more than once.

Some of these NPOs include work on spacecrafts - as for example the Lunar Reclamation Society an The Artemis Project.

If they all or at least some of them have topics concerning spacecrafts in common then they should try to reduce all double workings and act together as if they were one whole organization concerning the topic "spacecraft". They should use synergies this way.

Provided sufficient members in total doing this and working together with the XPRIZE Foundation and all the private teams - including those not competing for the XPRIZE or the CUP - they might manage to reach the orbit, then going to GEO and land on the moon I think.

The first spectacular success will pull additional members to them and it perhaps might be that they go to Mars one day.

But first - what are the numbers of members each and in total? And what parallel works to reduced to reach increased efficiency of membership-rates to pay?



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


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Post Grants for Cost Effective Technology?   Posted on: Thu Jan 27, 2005 8:19 pm
The Guggenheim Foundation supported Dr. Robert Goddard's work when a small (and modest cost) team offered and delivered valuable results. It is not enough to be cheaper than NASA – it may be necessary to produce results at 1/100 to 1/1000 times their cost to attract private support. A subscale, radio controlled model (like the X-33) which could prove a low cost orbital technology to be feasible for $1.2 Million (1/1000 of the X-33 effort) might qualify. If it led to a $12 Million manned orbital flight program – with operational costs approaching $1 Million per orbital passenger - this would be a serious accomplishment. The recipient need not be a nonprofit, for foundations pay for many services to further their purposes. In this case the demonstration of capability would be the goal. I think there are foundations, like the Guggenheim of old, which would invest in mankind’s future transportation if they believed this kind of cost effectiveness was achievable.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 15, 2006 6:30 pm
The March 2006 edition of the magazine BUSINESS 2.0 has a nice section on Space Start-Ups, with a whole page devoted to www.spaceislandgroup.com
http://money.cnn.com/2006/02/27/technol ... paceintro/

It also seems Emerson is interested in SPS--at least for ad campaigns.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Nov 10, 2006 1:10 am
Hi all, I'm new here and wasn't quite sure where to jump in but this section is one of my primary areas of focus so I'll start here. First, I'm the executive director of MarsDrive and I can tell you that non profit space groups do serve a valuable purpose but are not the complete answer when it comes to funding large space projects. I have looked at many ideas and have come to the conclusion that it will take a combination of sources to fund large space projrects and NPO's can definitely play a big role there. That's what we are working towards anyway, a union of many different groups, resources and sectors to enable large space projects of the future. We have a long way to go but it is a road worth travelling, whatever the bumps are along the way.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Nov 10, 2007 5:27 am
Well I have taken some time out since I first looked at competing for the XPrize way back in the dark ages at the dawn of the millenium. I have spent that time running my own business and breaking into a similar industry, Broadcast televison where everything used to cost millions.

Having experience now in marketing, designing, R&D, paying bills and making profits my ideas on space have changed a bit. I also know what it feels like to completely change the makeup of an industry.

However there is definitely room for at least one Non-Profit NGO that operates like the GNU project, sharing and managing a collective open source launch infrastructure. The future is not one company doing cheap launches for everybody but for a lot of little countries to join the space age with near identical cheap launchers with the refinement and development shared.

Again the key won't be for 'Countries' to join but for businesses within those countries to join.

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