Our vision for Community in Space™ guides all that we do
Caelus Partners has unconditional faith that there is a future where the safety and prosperity of all citizens on Earth and in space can be realized despite a world of challenges. To achieve this outcome, Caelus Partners aspires to build Community in Space™ that will allow the world’s nations and its peoples to establish newly viable, sustainable, and prosperous communities, business ventures, and scientific endeavors. The original idea for Community in Space germinated over two years ago through the realization that, while excitement was rapidly growing for the limitless possibilities inherent in development of the space domain, there was no plan for how to organize such development, let alone alignment across key stakeholders as to how it could be done. This realization created a challenge for us: how could we shape an impactful role for ourselves in such a volatile, ambiguous, and uncertain environment? Further, how could we help others with the same objective? Such questions led us to the vision for Community in Space.
Community in Space started as a vision that progressed into a concept with a campaign plan. The Community in Space concept was designed to provide a common frame of reference to develop the requirements to sustain and improve the social, economic, and governing environment in space. We believe that defining a globally aligned, jointly developed framework for how people will pursue and navigate the unknowns of space from the outset will help develop space into a self-sustaining economy. The concept was based on a community development model used on Earth. The model can both characterize existing communities along defined dimensions and provide a framework for how to deliberately build a new community, which is the application we are using for the space domain.
Community in Space is a vision in the sense that we are working toward creating a thriving community complete with foundational characteristics, a sustainable economy, and a culture based on values and principles defined by the members. Given where we are with humankind’s expansion into the space domain, we have a unique and amazing opportunity to shape what this community will become. We are at the beginning of this journey. If we define, build, inform, and get others to support and operate from within or from a derivative of the Community in Space framework, then we expect that the cost of space exploration will be lower (in resources and time) and economic growth will occur with greater participation and opportunities. We have unconditional faith that this can be achieved even as nation-states and special interests compete in a combative, inequitable, and callous manner.
The time to pursue a vision such as Community in Space is now. Activity in space has been steadily rising, picking up momentum in the past few years. According to the Space Foundation, the global space economy reached $384 billion in 2017, with growth of approximately 6% per year over the past decade. Multiple sources project the global space economy to grow by a factor of ten to reach $3 trillion in the coming decades. This reflects a significant transformation point for the space domain: a transition from a government-driven pursuit to a globally commercialized economy. Key drivers of this growth include three important developments. First, access to space is becoming cheaper, more reliable, and more available, which reduces the mountainous barriers of the past. Second, governments have changed their stance from space leader to space customer, and they desire to use commercially available capabilities for space activities. Third, the rate at which space technology is advancing and creating applications in other industries is increasing rapidly. These elements all seem to add up to an unmissable opportunity, but there is a catch… there is no path that is both clear and realistic leading from today’s space economy to the one being predicted. Some parties have proposed that commercialization will take place through private investment operating within the existing model of space industry dependency on nation-state contracts and government control. This could work as it has done for the defense market, but it has come at the expense of market segregation, conflict, and creating barriers that would prevent the exchange of ideas and commerce globally. Further, these proposals assume that an economic ecosystem will evolve rapidly in a place that currently has no functioning marketplace and few reliable private — or even government — customers.
The evolution of the space economy is of vital importance to everyone who has an interest in space, even those who are focused on academic pursuits such as exploration and scientific discovery. This is particularly true of individuals and organizations that seek to establish new industries and communities of humans living and working in space. Regardless of the objective, it is clear that there is a pressing need for new infrastructure, technology, and economic frameworks to enable everything from deep-space exploration to manufacturing in Earth orbit. As the space economy shifts from one dominated by exploration to one that includes development and commercialization, there is a need to also move beyond government-funded programs to those with a broader funding base that operates independently, to include private investment.
Although aggregate government spending on space tends to increase over time at the global level, it would take unrealistic budget increases to fully support the research, construction, and deployment of all the infrastructure needed to fully realize the economic potential of space. This is why governments around the world are urgently trying to find the right policies and regulations to amplify the effect of the limited amounts they can spend to stimulate new space markets. However, despite several high-profile investment forays into space companies — mostly in service of bringing costs down in well-established markets rather than developing new markets — the financial industry has generally kept its distance from the space sector. This is a perfectly rational decision, as the economic principles for transactions in space have yet to be established, which means that investment in space is viewed as an unacceptable risk. The space economy needs to sustain itself without constant infusions of cash or else space pursuits will be seen as uncompetitive with other investment opportunities.
Our Path Forward
Our solution and approach to the current state of the space economy is embodied in Community in Space. Since the original Community in Space concept and campaign plan were released in early 2017, we have worked with an extended network of interested organizations and individuals to guide a monumental change on a global scale and have already affected the way audiences understand and participate in space. There has been general agreement among those with whom we have met that something like Community in Space is needed. The transition from exploration to development in the space domain is a global issue that must be elevated to a global discussion, and many around the world have come to an understanding that the current path for developing the space domain needs a holistic approach and global integration.
The founding Community in Space team is committed to pursuing this vision to the fullest extent of our capabilities. Through Caelus Partners, we focus on working with those individuals and organizations that want to achieve a profitable future in the rapidly growing space economy. We solve complex, ambiguous problems related to the commercialization of space in any location on Earth. We provide consulting, advising, and investing support. Our effort to build Community in Space has provided us with the knowledge we needed to put together a comprehensive, globally integrated thesis for developing the space economy of the future. No one in industry can match our expertise, agility, and discretion to deal with these challenges. We apply this understanding to help others marshal their resources in a coordinated, coherent, and profitable way. Although some risks cannot be avoided — such as the potential for nation-state conflict in space — we have developed an approach that addresses the critical flaws in prior efforts to open the space sector up to new participants.
Through the journey to build Community in Space thus far, the founding team also concluded that Caelus Partners is not the only organization needed to realize the long-term vision. The Caelus Foundation was created fulfill a need the founding team observed. Caelus Partners is focused on building a sustainable economy in space through profitable business endeavors in a manner consistent with the needs, values, and principles of the community in which we operate. The Caelus Foundation is focused on building a community of individuals through efforts to advocate for broad participation in the space domain and to engage and empower people around the world to build a space-centric community through their decisions and actions. These two organizations share a common vision but have distinct missions in realizing it. It is our hope that, through our efforts, others will choose to be part of this community.