NASA’s Management of the ISS and Efforts to Commercialize Low Earth Orbit

NASA’s Inspector General published a report in November 2021 “NASA’s management of the ISS and efforts to commercialize low earth orbit”.

The report made the following observations related to commercialization:

“Challenges of commercialization include limited market demand, inadequate funding, unreliable cost estimates, and still evolving requirements.”

“NASA’s market research studies found the most promising areas to stimulate demand include sponsorship and marketing; space tourism; video products for entertainment use including films, documentaries, and sporting events; and in-space manufacturing of unique materials or products.”

“Robust market for low earth orbit has yet to materialize. While the volume of interest in private astronaut missions has exceeded NASA’ expectations, significant demand for commercial activity in other sectors of the nascent economy – such as in space manufacturing and marketing of products for sale on earth – have yet to materialize.”

“Unless overall commercial demand expands markedly, future low earth orbit platforms will likely not be viable without continued significant Government support.”