Imagine if the early settlers to the Americas had to transport all of the materials they needed across the Atlantic Ocean. Carrying all that food, water, and other materials would have been highly impractical if not outright impossible. It would also have been prohibitively expensive. That’s why settling new lands has always required making use of resources available nearby. In technical jargon, this is called “in-situ (on-site) resource utilization,” or ISRU.

Unfortunately there aren’t any easily accessible natural resources available in near-Earth space, so astronauts have to bring everything they need with them from Earth. That includes every satellite and…


There’s a common expression to describe something easy: “it’s not rocket science.”

Space is notoriously difficult and expensive, so much so that it became associated almost exclusively with engineers, scientists, governments, and perhaps a handful of enthusiasts. As a result, the space community grew increasingly insular, risk averse, and stagnant. Content to improve but not hungry enough to innovate.

And the public lost interest.

The amazing discoveries and innovations made every year by space agencies did little to recapture the world’s excitement. Over time, younger generations saw careers in STEM as less attractive than in finance or technology. …

Orbital Matters

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