Settlement Enabling Test

Artwork by Bryan Versteeg –


Settlement Enabling Test

by Space Frontier Foundation

Click here to download .pdf version

All statements are to be rated 1 to 5. Unless otherwise stated, the rankings are 1 – Strongly Disagree, 2 – Disagree, 3 – Neutral, 4 – Agree, 5 – Strongly Agree. If the Board of Directors agrees beforehand that the question is not applicable to a specific proposal, it is not to be considered in the final score for that proposal. The examples given are only there for understanding purposes. They are not part of the actual question.

1. Societal Values

a. This proposal is consistent with the values of the Space Frontier Foundation believes are necessary for a free and open frontier in space.

b. This proposal maintains budget transparency, and therefore supports honest decision making.

c. This proposal includes rigorous and independent oversight.

d. This proposal has a reasonable implementation plan, budget & schedule so that it is likely to be properly executed.

2. Expanding Human Access to the Frontier

a. This proposal encourages or allows a greater number of non-governmentally funded people to fly or operate in space.

b. This proposal encourages and supports a greater diversity of people who are able to fly or operate in space.

c. This proposal enables or encourages more people to increase the longevity of their stay in space.

3. Ensuring the Sustainability of Space Settlement

a. This proposal encourages the use of resources that do not require launching mass from the surface of the Earth. (Example: Using Earth’s magnetic field for station keeping rather than propellant carried from Earth)

b. This proposal uses or makes available the resources of space in a smart, sustainable way. (Example of a failure: the Moon Treaty, which prevents the use of private property)

c. This proposal enhances or encourages the re-use and recycling of terrestrial materials carried into space. (Example: re-cycling upper stages or external tanks for fuel depots or habitats)

d. This proposal maintains or increases the usability of the space environment. (Example: debris clouds created by an anti-satellite testing program drastically increases the need for micro-meteor shielding to the point that spacecraft become prohibitively expensive.)

4. Creating a Pro-Settlement Policy/Legal/Regulatory Environment in Space

a. This proposal develops a regulatory environment that fosters settlement, utilization, and/or commercialization. (Example: property rights related to Moon, Mars, asteroids, etc. so that private enterprise can operate effectively, and make use extracted resources, etc)

5. Creating value/profit from the space environment that supports/catalyzes settlement

a. This proposal encourages the creation of items (goods and services) of value that derive most of their value from space. (Example: communication satellites need the high altitude of space to be valuable. Without this, the satellite isn’t worth anything.)

b. This proposal encourages additional investment of time, money or talent into frontier-enabling activities as defined in this document.

6. Developing Space Capabilities

a. This proposal identifies and prioritizes key strategic space capabilities (not technologies) which directly enable, enhance, or accelerate space settlement in a broad, inclusive manner. (Example: a review panel identifying what capabilities we would like to develop in 10 years — e.g. National Research Council decadal surveys or the Review of Human Spaceflight Plans Committee)

b. This proposal includes in its implementation plan a viable path for an idea to emerge as a commercial product or service that delivers a key strategic capability. (Examples: The same needed capabilities [or technologies] have existed on NASA/Department of Defense charts for decades. Many have been partially developed or proven on the ground repeatedly without achieving formal flight status and ultimately commercial availability.)

c. This proposal makes full use of existing or planned commercial capabilities (i.e. goods and/or services) to achieve one or more strategic space capabilities.

d. This proposal (if implemented) would sustainably achieve the desired strategic capability. (Example: While the International Space Station (ISS) was under construction, NASA decided to decommission ISS 5 years after completion. It is underutilized because of excessive paperwork requirements, the prioritization of development over utilization, and inadequate access.)

e. The proposal creates no governmental hardware that harmfully competes with private sector approaches in meeting a desired strategic capability. (Examples: Ares’ original plan competed with commercial alternatives; some plans for ISS re-use would place it in competition with commercial facilities.)

f. The proposal creates government furnished hardware in a way that it can be adapted for commercial use once the strategic capability is achieved. (Examples: Can ISS be re-cycled, and turned over to a non- government entity? Can a proposed Lunar facility designed to train for Mars exploration be handed over to commercial use after NASA has finished with it?)

7. Return on Investment

a. This proposal provides a good return on investment to taxpayers in terms of enabling space settlement.

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