ISDC Workshop: Enabling the Space Economy

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

Rich Philips is one of the Track Co-Chairs of the Space Enterprise Track at the ISDC National Space Society conference coming up just around the corner in Los Angeles May 14-18. Rich is founder of Phillips & Company a global communications firm serving both emerging and established leaders in the markets that are changing our world such as the commercial space market, homeland security, mobile computing, education, healthcare and energy. In 2007 Rich launched his space practice at Phillips & Company and has been working with companies in the space economy for many years now. The Space Enterprise track will address business plans, projects, and concepts that have reasonable potential within 10 years to become profitable and offer a competitive return to investors. QGITS (an online publication for STEM students) had the opportunity to chat with Rich and hear more about what he had to say about the emerging new space economy.

QGITS: What are some of the topics that will be discussed on the Space Enterprise track?

Rich Phillips: It’s very important that we recognize the space economy is real, it’s here today and we will be focusing on opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs to grow and to be financially successful. We will see opportunities within the next 10 years that will have a return on investment. So we are looking at very near term, we put together a two day program that will explore opportunities for growth and success in a very near term space economy. We are also going to do something very unique on the 2nd day. We are going to break out as a group to conduct workshops designed to identify the requirements for a space economy to exist. Markets exists because of certain forces: legal, policy, economic, & technology. In order for a market to exist it needs to be sustainable on its own. It can’t be funded entirely by government it can’t be funded by any one mission, a true space economy needs to be multi-mission, multi- product and multi-service. So what conditions are necessary for a market to exist? We are going to explore that question and produce an answer amongst the leaders in the room. It’s a unique opportunity I think to bring together leaders in space entrepreneurship on the investment financial services side of space to really tackle these core issues. Once we defined what the requirements are we can begin working to make sure those requirements exist in order to continue to grow the space economy and achieve what we want for this country and the world.

QGITS: One of the innovative companies Phillips & Company is working with is Mars World Enterprises. How is the new emerging space economy becoming an opportunity for businesses like Mars World?

Richard Phillips: I believe that space is a platform for experiences, applications and services. And I believe that in this economy, people buy experiences they just don’t buy products and services. I think the Mars World concept is designed to create an immersive experience for those here on earth to be part of something very special that will transform the way we think about space and ultimately I think Mars World has a very good chance of redefining the way that entertainment and theme entertainment is produced.

QGITS: Is there anything else you would like to express about the space economy?

Rich Phillips: I believe that exploration is critical to prosperity and human progress and ultimately the space economy is an opportunity for us to really be truly ourselves as human beings. Human beings were destined to explore. I don’t think there is anything different between the first people who discovered the semi conductor, the first people who had the innovation to build that first computer or to really create the first internet application and those that are now looking at space and saying what can we do there. That’s exciting to me not just because of the destination but because of the platform for human expression and human prosperity.

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