“Commercial” Space Collapse?

Posted: December 9, 2011 in Songs of Space and Nuclear War
Tags: , , , , , , ,

We all know there’s really only one sure way to make money in, to, through, or from space: sell space-related goods and services to the government.

Now, if $7.3 billion in proposed cuts to “commercial imagery contracts” hit GeoEye and DigitalGlobe, what will be the effect on the rest of the space industry? How much would the cuts in space services cascade over into satellite and booster builds and shared overhead, to especially include “new” space?

While Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman likely have sufficient capitalization, lines of credit, product diversity, and flex in their workload (to of course include layoffs), what about, in particular, SpaceX as well as some of the other less well-knowns?

Sea Launch was a recent example of operating on (or beyond) a shoestring and when they suffered a launch failure, their house of space cards collapsed. While Sea Launch has since come out of bankruptcy in a several-year-long re-org, are the situations analogous?

Given what appears to be a world-wide glut of launch capacity (India, China, and Russia, as well as SpaceX and all the traditional players), it will be interesting to see how things pan out. Of course, then there are possible cuts of great significance to NASA and mil space as well.

 

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