Frequently Asked Questions
Section J1.
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How Can Private Enterprise Afford a Moon Base?


Previous moon base studies have based their cost models on the performance of government projects and assumed revenues would come only after decades of development. The resulting high capital costs and long term before realizing any profit made it impossible for private enterprise to finance a manned space venture.

The Artemis Project addresses both the cost and revenues issues. Because this is private venture, we can reduce development costs by designing the spacecraft to commercial aerospace industry standards, and financing becomes realistic because the project offers an immediate return for the investment.

Analysis of government-sponsored space projects shows that no more than 10% of the money, usually even less, is actually spent on developing and operating the spacecraft. The rest goes to the enormous support effort and inefficient organizations necessary to answer the changing whims of the U. S. Congress, support a large institutional bureaucracy with extensive fixed assets all over the world, and to adapt to the government's management-by-meetings philosophy. While some of these extra costs can be trimmed, most of the overhead is the inevitable nature of government programs.

Private enterprise does not, and could not, work that way. By organizing as a private company, acquiring resources no sooner than necessary, using the project schedule as a working tool rather than worshipping it, and refusing to allow the project to lose sight of its goals in favor of implementing some politician's social agenda, the costs of any program can be reduced by a factor of ten or more. Additionally, the Artemis Project reduces its costs by using technology and resources already developed in previous manned space flight programs.

Our current estimate of the total cost of the space flight program through completion of the reference mission is US$1.42 billion. This level of investment is quite common in the business world. For example, one new deep-water oil rig typically costs about one billion dollars.


To most people, manned space flight is just another kind of entertainment, and really nothing more. That's the good news! The economic power of the entertainment industry is enormously greater than all aerospace endeavors combined. The Artemis Project pays for the initial lunar base primarily by exploiting the entertainment value of the grand adventure of space flight. Once we're on the moon, we continue developing the lunar community with entertainment and tourism.

It takes a lot money to build a moon base, but the adventure is so much fun that net revenues from the entertainment value of the project, through its first flight, is more than US$5 billion. This is the immediate return; it does not include the profit to be made in the long run by exploiting lunar resources. These revenue estimates are based on comparison to similar mass-marketing ventures which tie movies and television shows in with associated merchandise and services.

Our challenge is to make the program fun. Fun, not just for the community of space enthusiasts who already share the vision, but for the vast market of people all over the world who think of space travel as the subject of big government programs and science fiction movies.

The Apollo program was run with engineering precision, its drama hidden by the need for a government agency to present an unflagging image of confidence to the world. In stark contrast, the Artemis Project is designed to be entertaining from the start. With half a dozen science fiction writers already working on the project, we think it is very likely we will attain that goal and still retain the project's major appeal which sets it apart from science fiction productions -- the Artemis Project is real.

In short, we plan to pay for the initial stages of the project through shameless commercialism.

Frequently Asked Questions

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