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Will it be a breakthrough year for Space?

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh flew from New York to Paris. In 1972, Apollo 17 completed the last lunar landing mission to date. We haven’t continued to push the boundaries of Space since; no manned Mars missions, no deep space exploration — we haven’t even returned to the Moon. But we are only at the beginning of 2017, however, and there are some very promising initiatives that may truly open up Space, and unlike government-sponsored flights of the 1950s and ’60s, private enterprise is leading the way.
breakthrough year for Space ? NASA
Commercial aerospace is going through a significant transformation, creating new markets and disrupting existing ones. Driven by innovation and technological advancement, the days of large, government-supported incumbents charging “cost plus margin” fees for launch services are quickly fading. Three such disruptors include Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, all of which are radically redefining space launch systems by focusing on cost reduction, reusability and new manufacturing techniques, such as 3D printing.
What’s next
Also in 2017, we will see the conclusion of the Google Lunar X Prize, which set the goal of landing a privately funded robotic spacecraft on the moon that would travel 500 meters and transmit high-definition video and images back to Earth. On July 20, 1969, NASA put a man on the moon at a cost of $25 billion. But companies like Moon Express, which are taking part in the X Prize and raising venture capital, are betting they’ll soon be able to travel to the moon for 0.028 percent of that cost, or $7 million. And it’s not just traditional space technologies that are being redefined: Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources are making significant progress toward launching asteroid-mining missions before 2020.

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