In the first year of the NMB program, a student team from the Georgia Institute of Technology developed a Business Plan for space-based manufacturing. The plan was built around the technology of Acoustic Shaping, developed by Georgia Tech's undergraduate team in NASA's Reduced Gravity flight program over the preceding two years. The Business Plan of a small start-up company was used to illustrate the opportunities, and the critical enablers, for a space-based economy in the 21st century. Human exploration of Mars, and beyond, was seen to become a driver, as well as the natural outcome, of such an economy. At the same time, presentation of this concept helped focus attention on the critical role of the government in the development of both technology and an enabling infrastructure beyond Earth. There is growing awareness that a systematic march towards a space-based economy, which uses extraterrestrial resources, is the way to enable human exploration and development of space.
Team: Georgia Tech
The Georgia Tech team's proposal for the 2000 NMB program is to lead progress along the path laid out last year, towards the development of a spaced-based construction industry. The prototype start-up company, ASI, enters the second year of its 4-year campus incubation period, growing in its team-based organization. The technology of acoustics shaping will be driven towards space application, through ground and sounding rocket experiments. The product development team has developed product ideas and markets that will be developed further. Customers for the space-based construction industry have been identified:
A plan is laid out for engaging a segment of these customers in the year 2000. Outreach programs are being formalized through institutional and Space Grant organizations.
- The construction industry
- The composite manufacturing industry and
- The future space-faring generation, now in middle and high schools.