Financing the Project
Section 3.3.
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Judging the Entertainment Value of the Moon Flight

We could very easily allow our own enthusiasm for space travel to cloud our ability to judge the marketability of the Artemis Project among the general populace of the world. These reminders are vital to developing a sound business foundation for the project.

We're answering that concern several ways.

First, we built caution into the business plan and our approach to the project. Rather than risking capital, we will develop the spacecraft with revenues earned from the other parts of the business. If we are unable to do that, then the philosophy behind the project -- that manned space flight is sufficiently entertaining to fund itself -- has not proved out. (Or at least we will have demonstrated that we have to date been unable to implement that philosophy.)

Second, we have good reason to expect the Artemis Project's approach to space flight will be more appealing that historical government programs, even without a race to beat the godless commies to the moon. Government programs have been lackluster for two reasons:

  1. They're portrayed as being about machines; even the crew have been cast as machines.

    The Artemis Project is the story of people, and we will present as a story about people. Our success here depends on the ability of we science fiction writers to come through with characters that people will care about, and give them an interesting environment in which to do interesting things.

  2. The things the government has done in space are not relevant to most people's lives.

    This has to do with the playground. Some of us can vicariously enjoy the adventures of NASA astronauts, and even Russian cosmonauts; but most people do not identify at all with the professional astronauts. The government space program is the domain of very highly trained and educated people, hand-picked to go into an environment forbidden to anyone else. Everyone else is shut out of that playground.

    Our goal is to open up the playground to everyone, to create an economic environment where the moon and all the solar system is open to anyone who wants to go. That's why we chose a lunar base as our primary goal -- it's the seed that gets the whole business engine growing.

    All the requirements for the lunar base stem from this. It must be permanent, manned, and ultimately self-supporting. Permanence doesn't mean we won't consider moving it, but it does mean we will always work toward a scenario that avoids abandoning our presence on the moon.

Third, space travel is more popular than you might imagine, even with the drawbacks of the current government space program. The majority of the U.S. populace want the government to do what they're doing, and most believe that NASA is doing a lot more than it actually is. Space toys and memorabilia have been a steady seller since the early Fifties, and today are a large segment of the toy industry. I've found in my travels that public interest in space is much greater in areas away from the NASA cities. I've found more space enthusiasts among the general populace outside the United States than within our national boundaries.

Fourth, we're playing to a world-wide market. Limiting our thinking to domestic sales has a profound effect on the bottom line. U.S. citizens are very wealthy and probably will account for nearly 50% of total sales, but that's only half. We're already expanding the Artemis Project to all the anglophone countries, plus the Scandinavian countries, where the majority read English as part of their daily lives, and Russia; and now France. Others will follow as we develop the resources to support them in their local languages.

This all adds up to a scenario where we aren't risking much of a loss. Assuming we don't foul up the entertainment business completely, we might reach the point where we have learned that it's just not going to work. I don't think that will happen, but if it does, we will have a neat international organization of space enthusiasts and an entertainment business built up. With those resources, maybe we'll think of something else.

The other failure scenario isn't a failure scenario at all. Suppose someone with lots of expertise and capital sees what we're doing and leaps in to do it faster and better. If that happens, we will have achieved our goal; and still have the Artemis Society and some companies which can support the guys who are going there first. If they don't want our help, we'll just keep plugging away until we get there, too. The moon is a big playground.

Financing the Project

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