These innovations bring many legal, regulatory, and contractual challenges and considerations that need to be kept in mind. Along with new business models and technologies (some fully or partially still on the drawing board) often come new hurdles, paradigms, and approaches to partnering and capital raising.
In this first article we explore an area of innovation not often discussed in connection with space, which will most certainly be a topic of increasing dialogue, deployment, and regulation in the future: how nuclear and fusion power is evolving to fuel the next wave of deep space exploration.
Indeed, there is a new space race developing, with higher stakes and more ambitious goals than just going back to the Moon. The U.S. has developed a sizable technological lead in rockets and satellite technology, which has in turn grown national and global space ambitions. Now that it is feasible to get to low Earth orbit affordably and reliably, the government and private companies are looking to go further—to the Moon, Mars, the asteroid belt, and beyond—for both scientific and economic gain. The U.S. is not alone in this race. China and Russia are collaborating on a lunar base, China aspires to be the first to colonize Mars and mine asteroids, and other countries such as the UAE are joining the fray. Technological advancements in fusion and fission propulsion systems may help decide the winner of this new space race, and bring with them many important questions.