THE ARTEMIS PROJECT
PRIVATE ENTERPRISE ON THE MOON
Financing the Project
Section 3.3.
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Why Direct Investment in Space Has Historically Failed

There are a host of reasons why commercial space projects have historically had a hard time securing direct financing by investors. The past thirty years of unfunded projects shows us that unless these issues are addressed, investors very well may not supply the start-up capital needed for space startups.

The Artemis Project, however, does not require direct investment in the space flight -- thereby bypassing these roadblocks which have stymed space ventures in the past. One of the primary purposes of the Artemis Project is to show that private enterprise can profit from manned space and eliminate as many of these roadblocks as possible.

  1. Technical risks and financial risks. Space has both. Investors have historically settled for one or the other, but seldom two at once. Eliminate one, or both, and you're in business.

    The Artemis Project minimizes the impact of technical risk by not requiring any investment directly in the mission. The space flight is paid for through the profits of related ventures in known industries, which can carry on without the space flight. After all, even if the mission is aborted, there will still be a market for space-related action figures.

    Also, financial risk is kept low by the diverse nature of the industries and products funding the Artemis Project. Further, the fact that solid financial studies have shown the Artemis Project will have a large return on the capital invested in the first flight -- even if 50% of the supporting industries are unprofitable, the first flight will still generate nearly a billion dollars in net profit.

  2. Too much time before realizing a profit. Inelegant scenarios for space colonization can involve decades of big spending before a dime of profits are made. Manyz previous ventures have looked for the large profits in the long term, without focusing on revenue sources before then.

    None of this applies to the Artemis Project. The space flight division doesn't have investors to pay dividends to. Unlike other previous ventures, the Artemis Project is profit-making from start to finish. The mission hardware is paid for as revenues come in, and the idea is to have the venture in the black at the time of launch.

  3. R&D needs to be done. For a lot of projects, things need to be developed and researched. Details have to be ironed out. Research is time-consuming (above) and expensive (below). It also has a possibility of failure, and can lead to unforseeable expenses from the research itself and new costs associated with, say, a new heatshield design.

    The Artemis Project uses off-the-shelf hardware on nearly everything. Since so much of what we need is readily available, the entire flight hardware can be built nearly off-the-shelf, which lowers costs dramatically.

    Nearly all the technology required for a manned return to the Moon has already been developed and tested by government space agencies, with the results in public domain. Thus, there is very little R&D left to do, that can't be sidestepped by savvy engineering, for the Artemis Project's first flights.

    Finally, virtually all space missions push technology to the limits in an effort to lower launch mass, usually far beyond the point of lowest cost. Workarounds, even though heavier and less sexy, will nearly always be cheaper to build and launch than a newly developed custom technology. Unless it can be shown that developing a new technology is necessary or cheaper than an existing solution, it makes sense to sacrifice engineering elegance for reduced cost.

  4. High capital costs. This is as a result of expensive hardware, expensive people, and the temptation to overspend in an attempt to ensure mission success. Inelegantly planned projects pay for everything up to when the vehicle is flying. In previous ventures, there is no immediate source of income to tide the project over until it's producing return -- except more capital investment.

    The Artemis Project can exploit the entertainment value of the flight all along, funding the hardware as it goes. No investors are in the picture, so there isn't a need for a one-time drive for capital.

  5. Unknown industry. Investors are reluctant to invest in an industry that is poorly understood. Space is also plagued with misconceptions, such as "how expensive it is," because the only paradigm they know is conventionally-managed government space -- which is expensive -- as a small example. Space and engineering are perceived as complex, investors do not show an interest in learning about them, and nobody invests in ignorance.

    The Artemis Project seeks investment in associated ventures in known industries, which are independent of the real moonshot. All of the idustries in mind are established and have huge historical precedents of investment. They have been tried and proven to be profitable.

  6. Untried industry and perceived risk. Investors are also reluctant to put money into something that has never been tried before. There is more perceived risk in doing something if nobody else has proven it can be done. There is a single precedent for commercial manned space, SPACEHAB, but that is not a large factor in an investor's decision. Commercial manned planetary space is still a virgin industry.

    The Artemis Project has no more risk than any other multi-faceted venture in the entertainment industry, and the whole idea is to make space development a tried and proven industry by providing empirical proof that commerical manned space is very profitable.

  7. Return on investment. Of course, there has to be a big enough return to attact investors through the risk. If the return is great enough, the rest of the problems can be overcome. However, few industries short of space tourism show a big enough return on investment (ROI) to attract investors. Also, it has to be demonstrated that there is a large ROI to be made, and the only real way to prove that is to go to the Moon.

    The Artemis Project has enough stacks of paper to convince itself that it will make a large return, and that's all the people who have to be convinced. The Artemis Project doesn't rely on investors for a significant level of funding (although offers are welcome!), and the whole point is to prove the return exists to everyone else.

The author feels that this article shows how the Artemis Project effectively sidesteps the obstacles to funding space projects.

Notice that after the Artemis Project proves that money can be made in space, and that private enterprise can do manned space travel, then most of these items are negated. The high financial return should be enough to attract investors to many other projects, especially if they can be subsidized in many ways by an organization such as the Artemis Project.

We're going to the Moon, everyone.

Financing the Project

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