Creating the CisLunar Economy
About the Speaker
Dr. George Sowers has 30 years of experience in the space transportation field working for Martin Marietta, Lockheed Martin and the United Launch Alliance (ULA). In 2017, he retired from his position as Vice President and Chief Scientist at ULA where his team developed an architecture for fully reusable in-space stages fueled by propellant mined, refined and distributed in space. Dr. Sowers has now joined the faculty of the Colorado School of Mines as part of a newly created graduate program in space resources. He holds a BS in Physics from Georgia Tech and a PhD in Physics from the University of Colorado. Dr. Sowers is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
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The development and utilization of space resources will enable an economic transformation for humankind on par with the agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution. The development and utilization of space resources will liberate humankind from the resource constraints of a finite earth and usher an era of unprecedented economic growth and prosperity. The first steps along this road are the development of the resources of the Moon and near-Earth asteroids to create a self-sustaining economy in cislunar space. The first economically viable resource in cislunar space will be rocket propellant from water mined on the Moon or asteroids. Recent research at the Colorado School of Mines shows that mining water for propellant in the permanently shadowed regions of the Moon is feasible at costs that can meet the requirements of a purely commercial business case. Once space-sourced propellants are available, the cost of transportation in cislunar space plummets enabling other space businesses to become viable. Space based solar power, beaming unlimited clean energy to Earth, is just one example.
Grand Forks, ND
Sowers, George, "Creating the CisLunar Economy" (2018). Space Studies Colloquium. 76.