NEEP533 Course Notes (Spring 1999)
Resources from Space

Lecture #41 Show me your ROI!

Title: Planning for Lunar Self Sufficiency


"Pure" Management Components for a 3He Enterprise

Professor Thompson's analysis indicated that a lunar 3He mining activity would be of interest to investors if the government financed its R&D in return for supplies of resources it would need at a lunar base (Lecture #40).

Are any major private initiatives possible in space without the government's direct financial assistance?

Launch Costs (see Schmitt, 1994)

One means of attracting private financing would be to build-in early investment returns as well as a source of cash flow during the early R&D period.

Key business element is financing R&D, as Professor Thompson has shown

  • He also has shown that if the government assumes the burden of financing mining R&D, a reasonable return on investment can be expected.
    • Probably cannot count on this possibility in the foreseeable future (see for example, Grim Budgets Spur Call to Action, Science, v 272, April 26, 1996, p 477.)
  • Full private financing may become possible by combining the lunar 3He mining initiative with the terrestrial 3He fusion electric power initiative.
  • References:

    Schmitt, H.H., 1994, Lunar Industrialization: How to Begin?, Journal of The British Interplanetary Society, 47, 527-530.

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