In all geologic time, the responsibilities are on our generation ... including you ...

§ 7.2.3 Don't Wait for Cheap Earth Launch

Many people in the commercial launch industry say that we need to wait until Earth launch costs come down before we can embark on asteroidal and lunar resources utilization. There has emerged an acronym for this, called Cheap Access To Space, or CATS.

I disagree that CATS is a prerequisite, for several reasons.

  1. When you do the math, the cost of space resources utilization is not all that much using today's launch costs. It's comparable to large offshore oil and gas projects. The actual launch costs of the equipment to go out and mine an asteroid will not be the main cost item in the project budget.
  2. The high cost of Earth launch drives up the market price and profitability of asteroidal and lunar resources. The cost of products and services is determined by demand and supply, and competition, not by actual costs. If Earth launch costs come down, then the price of products and services from asteroidal and lunar resources will also come down, and so will profitability.
  3. There are no Earth launch vehicle projects currently under development which will dramatically reduce the cost of launching from Earth. Some cost reductions will occur by getting more private ventures into the market and with volume demand for launching communications satellites. (Offshore competition from Russia, China and India drives down the market price a bit, but the price is not based on cost but on market price.) However, there are no fundamental new technologies being developed. There is no dramatic reduction in Earth launch on the horizon. There hasn't been for the 40 years since Sputnik first went up. The PERMANENT website covers all the significant Earth launch projects currently under development, to the best of our knowledge. If you wait for a major reduction in Earth launch capability, you may be waiting for a long, long time, and someone will beat you to the resources, the patents and the market.
  4. Space resources utilization will have a shorter payback time than many projects of the same amount of investment on Earth, at current Earth launch costs.

Many of the people who think we should wait also think that one of the driving factors for space development will be space tourism by ordinary people. I think that significant transport of people into space will happen only when there's somewhere to go. Asteroidal and lunar resources can be used to make decently sized and featured hotels and permanent habitats, much less expensively than blasting them up from Earth. The economic as well as market benefits of having a good hotel in space is discussed in chapter 5.

Many think we should "focus our efforts" on Cheap Access to Space (CATS) by Earth launch. (Many outspoken people in this issue are already investors in those projects.) I don't think that "uniting" for a particular private sector cause is either realistic or the best thing to do. We need diversity. That's what the private sector is best at. There's no one "critical path". (It's the same argument made in the government sector -- to focus on the International Space Station (ISS) and not talk about funding other manned space projects until that is finished. Further, the ISS is not designed for support of utilization of space resources. Space stations are not all the same.)

These arguments will all be moot and quickly forgotten when the first major investor embarks on asteroidal or lunar resources utilization. People's opinions don't matter except in trying to sway investors and money to particular projects. What does matter is who develops space resources first. > Law, Governments, and Private Sector > Private Sector > CATS Unnecessary


PERMANENT needs a PHP / MySQL (actually, MariaDB) programmer. Are you a PHP / MySQL programmer interested in getting into space development as a career, or already working in space development? Or do you know somebody else who might be interested?

There is an ongoing process to update this website in 2019 with a target relaunch in 2020.
This website is actually very out of date. Much of the website text content was written in the 1980s to early 2000s, but that's a different matter. As regards PHP / MySQL, some offline databases go into the 2010s, as regards professional publications, engineers, companies, etc., and this is what we need programming help with. We are updating our databases on people, organizations, publications, and other things, for open source space development for all.

The current status is we have some working databases which we have been using internally for a long time for organizing professional publications, and to track people (authors, R&D people, other professionals, quality volunteers, journalists, etc.) and organizations. We want to put information online for the general public pending a security review of the programming code.

Step 1 is fixing some bugs in what we already have, the PHP code. It is functional, and been used a long time, but there are some bugs.
Step 2 will be improving the system. Some small improvements would help its usability.
Step 3 will be a security check for putting it online for the general public to be able to access and use, but with reasonable protection against hackers.
After Step 3, the main mission is accomplished, as regards PHP / MySQL, though of course we hope to keep people engaged and happy, and the sky's not the limit.

This is a volunteer, unpaid role at this point in time. A limited paid role would be considered on a tight budget, such as for at least bug fixing with some minor improvements, and/or a security review of our code before it goes online publicly. If you or one of your friends or associates may be interested, please send an email to spaceprogrammer at ... of course this domain.

Reasons to do something yourself:

  • It will help save life on our special planet -- be part of the solution in your generation.
  • It will create and secure a better future for your children and grandchildren.
  • It could be an interesting, cool, and a fun adventure for your life!

You can join us and volunteer to help out,

... or ...

If you're short on time, you can just donate:

The Permanent Space Development Foundation, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
If you would like to make a quick donation to our humanistic cause,
then please click on one of the buttons below (which go to PayPal).

... or by cryptocurrency (which is NOT tax deductible), you can donate into any of these wallets:





... or ...

Suggest this website to other people and organizations.

To get updates on PERMANENT (occasional, not frequent), get on our mailing list.

For general or specific e-mail regarding PERMANENT, please use our Feedback page.

Leave information about yourself in our people, companies, and organizations database.

If you are interested in hiring our expertise, anywhere in the world, please contact us.
We have people in the USA and Thailand, and can travel or consult by internet.
You can call anytime, 24/7, at +66-8-1135-7977

Text by Mark Prado, Copyright © 1983-2021, All Rights Reserved.
Many website artistic design elements by Sam Fraser, Copyright © 1999-2021, All Rights Reserved.

Except where specifically stated otherwise,
Copyright © 1983-2021 by Mark Evan Prado, All Rights Reserved


P rojects to E mploy R esources of the M oon and A steroids N ear E arth in the N ear T erm

please see our

Site Map

to navigate.

For PCs, this righthand
side has a floating menu,
but if your tablet
or your PCs web browser
do not run
-- javascript --
then you must
-- navigate --
using the Site Map above.