Editorial Note, 15 May 1998
On 10 November 1994, we incorporated The Lunar Resources Company with fifteen of the people working on the eary stages of the Artemis Project serving as the initial board of directors. We hadn't even thought of Artemis Society International back then.
(ASI started out in the fall of 1994 as a public service of The Lunar Resources Company. When it got to the point that it was able to stand on its own, we set it up as an independent educational and scientific foundation.)
This document was originally a note I wrote to the participants some time in the summer of 1994. It seems to have sneaked onto the ASI web in 1995 or 1996 after suffering some unfortunate editial license.
Nevertheless, it discusses some of the key issues we were considering back then. I was addressing some of the questions we were working though, about the type of business the company would be in and why we wanted to create the company in the first place.
I should acknowledge that there is some dissention about our focus on the entertainment value of space flight as a means to get the program going, and on tourism as the primary source of external revenue for the permanent lunar community. This a very healthy argument for us to have; it means we have identified many ways for the lunar community to earn a living from their unique location on the moon.
Back in 1994, the economic power of the entertainment industries, coupled with the fact that space-related entertainment was big business, was enough to get our attention. It showed that we could balance the books with an emphasis on just that one set of industries. We certainly would hope that the tale would grow in the telling!
Over the past four years, we have grown and learned a tremendous lot about the industries of the world. While the entertainment and tourism industries have prospered to levels that some could not even believe in 1994, other opportunites for space enterprises have grown even more.
We continue to pursue the entertainment aspect of space flight, both because it will work financially and because it's fun! Even more importantly, it means we are following a path that gets you to the moon, even if you're not inclined toward being a scientist or an industrial entrepreneur.
However, if you see a better way to do this and have the knowledge and resources to put it together, please do start working on your business plans for the conquest of space. We'll help all we can; and if it fits our goal of establishing a permanent, self-supporting lunar community, we'll find a way to fit it into the Artemis Project. We'll need a host of industries on the moon to make lunar tourism work, and anything you can do to get a part of that great industrial infrastructure going on its own brings the closer you when you will set foot on the moon.
So, back to 1994...
Entertainment Ventures and the Artemis Project
An investment in this enterprise poses little more risk than any marketing venture in the entertainment business. Our approach to the business to move no faster with the development of the lunar base than profit from its ancillary entertainment value will allow, at least up to the point that we have to pay launch costs to low Earth orbit. The cost of developing the spacecraft is trivial compared to the volume of entertainment business.
Membership in the Toy Manufacturers of America could be much more significant to the financial success of the business than membership in the Aerospace Industries Association. The development of the spacecraft is critical to the entertainment value of the products we will offer (without it, we're just another space-toy company), but our primary revenues will come from the entertainment side of the Lunar Resources Company.
Will the government let us do this?
There are currently no federal regulations prohibiting manned space flight by a private company, though there are many which make it very difficult.
The key to effective influence over how these laws fare in the future is popular support. Fortunately, since growing to a massive marketing campaign is part of our basic business plan, a large base of popular support is built into the program.
This entire project is in a feasibility study stage right now. The questions remaining to be answered are whether there is sufficient popular support to win the friendship of folks on Captial Hill and whether we can generate sufficient interest in manned space exploration to fund the project. The business plan is structured to avoid running in the red to build spacecraft until we have more confidence in the marketability of the enterprise.
What is incorporating the Lunar Resources Company going to accomplish?
Incorporation gets us several advantages. Limited liability is the most obvious feature of any corporation. It also provides a mechanism for getting the capital needed to enter several dozen parts of the entertainment business, which in turn should provide the capital required to design and build the spacecraft and its supporting infrastructure.
Perhaps even more important, the availablility of an avenue to invest directly in their future in space allows everyone to participate directly in the program, even if it only means buying one $20 share of stock to hang on the wall as a souvenir. Direct participation has been denied the average citizen in all space endeavors run by the government, a situation we hope to change as a matter of philosophy. From a business standpoint, this philosophy is a critical part of the service we are providing to the public, and a large investor base with a financial commitment to the enterprise -- however small -- means a large base for popular support to stop anti-space legislation.
You can see how our plans have changed as we learned more about this whole business. Selling stock to the public is controlled by a quagmire of federal and state regulations, all tied up in forms and red tape. We are still working toward the day we can do a public offering, but we're not there yet.
You've probably figured it out, but just in case: This is not a solicitation to sell stock in any company.
We're racking up a lot of knowledge and experience with companies like CyberTeams, Lunar Traders, LunaSoft, and LRC Publications; and of course The Lunar Resources Company. (Those are just the ones I had something to do with. The whole list of Artemis Project program participants is listed in section 10 of the Artemis Data Book.)
Sometimes people ask why we're fooling with the little companies when we should be building spaceships. There really is a point to all this. LRC Publications and Lunar Traders should be obvious; they're part of the network of commercial companies we need to make the business of the Artemis Project work.
CyberTeams might seem to be only remotely connected with spacecraft, or even the entertainment industry, but it's an essential part of the basic infrastructure of the program. With a team spread all around the world, we had to create a revolution in cyber space before we could create one in outer space. We might be able to put together the business side of the project without our electronic communication resources, but certainly Artemis Society International could not have gone so far or so fast without the power of CyberTeams behind it all.
Beyond that, consider that delivering entertainment to the consumer relies entirely on communication; and the future of communication is the electronic data network. By establishing a dominant presence in electronic communication, we assure ourselves a foothold in the entertainment systems to come.
While doing all this, we've learned that managing new companies isn't the same as business management in the large, established companies we were all used to. My own experience is in the aerospace industry, working for corporate giants founded by guys who passed on before I was out of college. Others come from the electronics and publications industries; more corporate giants. It wasn't until we got some experienced entrepreneurs working with us that things really started to happen.
Now, they're happening. And they'll keep on happening as long as we continue to build the business infrastructure we need to bring about our goal of establishing a permanent, self-supporting lunar community.
One thing I've learned about being an entrepreneur: Never miss a chance to advertise! If you've read this far, you've demonstrated your own commitment to pushing the boundaries of mankind into the realm beyond the sky. So join us on this magnificent adventure! Get out your checkbook or your credit card, and follow this link to find out how you can join Artemis Society International today!