Tutorial on Microgravity Research
page 2: Executive Overview of Microgravity
While the current costs of achieving microgravity are high, another major hinderance to microgravity research is getting flights. There is a substantial backlog for flights on the Vomit Comet and Space Shuttle. Researchers can wait years to get a flight. Flights on todays sounding rockets have over a 12 month lead time. Additionally, the Space Commercialization Act passed by the Unites States Congress in 1996 makes it ILLEGAL for NASA to fly commercial payloads on the Space Shuttle or the Vomit Comet! Thefore, all researchers must submit their experiments to NASA committies to determine which experiment are "good science" and eligible for a NASA flight.
Currently, there are no commercial microgravity services available except for ZeroG and the Russian space program. Prices are still high and launches are not regularly scheduled.
To develop and manufacture these new materials, the ultimately the following must be executed on.
Step 1. Develop a cost effective and regularly scheduled microgravity services. It is best if this is a commercially available service. The services must be reliable. (In essence, become the equivalent of Federal Express or UPS to the microgravity research community).
Step 2. Identify Materials for Commercialization. As these services are being utilized, materials must be identified that are candidates for commercialization. These can be materials which goverment, university, student or private sector researchers have developed.
Step 3. Commercialization. Begin manufacturing and sales of the materials. Companies which develop the materials can manufacture some materials themselves and other materials will be licensed to other companies.
The ultimate benefits to mankind will be when the materials are in Step 3, manufacturing and commercialization.