Near-Term Business Scenario

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Short-Term Business Scenario
A Basis for Lunar Business Plans

Rough Draft


One of the essentials in the short term is the push past the purely scientific and exploratory Apollo style mission, and move interest away from government funded infrastructure building, and onto commercial applications. An aggressive public awareness program would be necessary to get the people of the world reinvested in space, and a so called “killer-app” would need to be discovered to gain corporate interest.

General Description

NASA’s Part

NASA will build basic infrastructure, after that it is up to commercial development. As shown in NASA Exploration Strategy.

Lunar Resource Extraction Settlement

The first economic application for the Moon will likely be a Schmitt mining settlement to harvest Helium-3 and other Volatiles. The settlement would be located at either of the poles or at the equator. The settlement would ideally be started immediately following the astronaut exploration stage, lest interest collapse and the entire plan be scrapped. This settlement will serve as the first small economic toe-hold on the Moon.

See Timelines

Settlement Business Environment

The Settlement would likely be run by a consortium of aerospace companies collaborating on the project. This conglomeration will be referred to here as the Company.

People on the Moon

The goal of People living on the Moon is an expensive and difficult proposition. Individuals on the Moon will be encouraged and supported to be entrepreneurs, and will be afforded intellectual property rights. The Company will buy ideas from the settlers while also funding the ore extraction and then having proprietary rights to sell it. Interactions with people on Earth, including economic interactions, will help keep lunar people sane and happy

Scope of Plans

Communication with Earth

A Moon settlement would be the first human settling endeavor which has a large bandwidth with its home country. The effect of this on the settlement will be to greatly lessen the isolation of the settlement in the minds of its inhabitants. They will have all of the comforts of home from books to movies to the internet; they will be the best connected settlers in human history.

Shipment back to Earth

Shipments back to Earth will be strictly limited, and will be overseen by a Cargo Supervisor.

Small ballast can top off shipments: cheap, low in mass (grams). Could be replacements for radiation shields with contained lunar mass on return trip

Dedicated robot shipments: An empty ship sent from Earth, lunar hydrogen and oxygen for return rocket, lunar reentry shield, load in tens of kilograms, slow trip, expensive. More of these flights are possible in long-term than in the short term.

Short-term Specific Assumptions

The Short-term Scenario will have the following specific features;

Personal Time

Miners will have some free time

It takes more people to handle emergencies than for normal operations.

Prototype Shop time is available to miners

The Bone Yard available to miners to get basic parts from descent vehicles, broken parts, etc. for use in the Prototype shop.

Personal activities and interpersonal contacts are critical to good mental health.

Strengths of the Short-Term

Enormous buy-in for the mission is expected.

Cutting edge technologies are available, and individuals interested in the technology field will flourish in the environment.

Nationalism plays a role with competition between countries.

Limitations in the Short-Term

Challenges to be overcome:

Low manpower available

Low electrical power available

Limited living space

Expensive shipment to and from Earth

Quick start required


Unknown risks

Other Scenarios

Ideas not meeting this short-term scenario simply belong in some other category like Long-term.

Return to Business Plans List.