Creating Genius Magazine Winter Issue - Page 57

Kellie: One of the most exciting aspects of the commercial space industry is the incredible efficiency of public-private partnerships. With the retirement of the Shuttle program, we lost the ability to launch our astronauts to orbit from U.S. soil. Thanks to commercial companies like SpaceX and Boeing working with NASA, we’re restoring that capability for the country, and thus protecting our significant investment in the International Space Station. CG: Tell us about the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and what part they play in all of this. Kellie: The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is the industry association of leading businesses and organizations working to make commercial human spaceflight a reality. Our members are democratizing spaceflight and expanding Earth’s economic sphere. Virgin Galactic and many others are democratizing spaceflight. CSF feels that these advancements are crucial to human progress. CG: How are you supporting these companies? Kellie: We have over 50 businesses and organizations that are members of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, including spaceflight developers, operators, spaceports, mission support services, and so many more. Our mission is to promote the development of commercial human spaceflight, pursue ever higher levels of safety, and share best practices and expertise throughout the industry. We address industry issues through committees of industry experts, joint projects with partner organizations, and industry-government collaborative efforts. CG: What struggles do space-driven entrepreneurs face? Kellie: I think there could be better communication between the emerging space industry and the general public. When the shuttle program came to an end, many people assumed NASA and space exploration in general had faded “The problem is that only 536 people have launched into space within the past 100 years. Virgin Galactic alone has sold over 700 tickets. In the next few years alone, we’re going to double the amount of people that have been to space in all of history.” away as well. That couldn't be further from the case, and part of my job is to raise awareness for those pioneer companies that are responsible for sustaining America's role as the world leader in space. It’s an exciting time. CG: Is this a closed show or can other entrepreneurs get involved? Kellie: Historically, breaking into the industry has been difficult, with costly barriers to entry. This is, after all, rocket science. Today, however, there are plenty of areas ripe of disruption, in a variety of different and very supportive verticals. At the end of the day, we’re looking at the next potential trillion dollar industry. Whether it's orbital flight, suborbital tourism, or asteroid mining, America is at the forefront. CG: When do you see the private industry really taking off and sending people to space? Kellie: Imminently. As I mentioned before, our members are demonstrating a steady commercial launch schedule and test flights. Innovation is happening across the board. We’re poised to enter the golden age of spaceflight. CG: I think we all want to know. Do you, yourself, want to go to space? Kellie: Without question. Doesn’t everyone? One day, I fully intend to purchase a ticket to fly with one of our member companies. And beyond my activity with CSF, I’m personally dedicated to mankind’s expansion in the solar system. I’m a candidate for Mars One’s permanent settlement mission to Mars. Whether or not the mission ever gets off the ground, I appreciate any organization that propels the global discussion of human space colonization and forces media to consider these issues as a part of our near-future. “I don’t think that there’s a single person who doesn’t find it interesting. We all want to explore. It’s a part of human nature. Space is a universal market.” Creating Genius Magazine | Page 57