To Regulate Or Not To Regulate? Defining Moments Of The Commercial Space Industry

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To Regulate Or Not To Regulate? Defining Moments Of The Commercial Space Industry

50 years ago, the Outer Space Treaty was signed amidst intense international crisis, and intended as a foundation for all future activities in space. 50 years later, we are on the verge of the next great epoch in space exploration, and much of that depends on the interpretation of the Outer Space Treaty as it was written in 1967.

Accordingly, the US Senate has begun hearings on the future of the Outer Space Treaty, questioning its ability, as written, to govern the space industry of tomorrow. Similar conversations are happening within government bodies of other treaty members around the world. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness, Senator Ted Cruz seemed inspired by the realness of what was being discussed. The suppositions of the treaty, related to private industry, are no longer theoretical, but are now being tested in practice. Private businesses are actively operating in space, and how the government decides to regulate (or not) their activities, will have enormous implications on the future of space exploration and habitation.

“The United States is poised to lead an explosion in commercial space activity that will see American companies look to land on the surface of the moon, service satellites and mine asteroids that may contain platinum and other precious metals valued upwards of a trillion of dollars,” announced Senator Cruz during the hearings (Reopening the American Frontier: Exploring how the Outer Space Treaty will impact American commerce and settlement in Space) on May 23rd. Introducing the session on this proactive note did indicate that deference will lean towards the enabling of industry and protection of innovation.

Think of this moment like the early days of the internet. Without freedom to explore and develop business on the internet, so much of the groundbreaking innovation we take for granted every day would never have been possible. It is the same "light-touch" regulation that will enable us to maximize on the opportunity at this moment: desire and curiosity + technological and scientific capability + access to capital and investment.

Some of the areas covered by the treaty are outlined by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs:

"Space law addresses a variety of matters, such as, for example, the preservation of the space and Earth environment, liability for damages caused by space objects, the settlement of disputes, the rescue of astronauts, the sharing of information about potential dangers in outer space, the use of space-related technologies, and international cooperation. A number of fundamental principles guide the conduct of space activities, including the notion of space as the province of all humankind, the freedom of exploration and use of outer space by all states without discrimination, and the principle of non-appropriation of outer space."

So what should the interpretation be today? A few key words emphasized by the members of two witness panels heard by the subcommittee on May 23 were:

CERTAINTY, TRANSPARENCY, EFFICIENCY, STABILITY & PREDICTABILITY.

Without the above, it will be increasingly difficult to do business. As it stands, the lack of consistency has made the barrier for entry unnecessarily high for new businesses with the potential to breach the space-scalable market.

This issue is of concern to the future of FAAR, because the organization relies on the potential for space-scalability throughout its prospective member industries. It appears that the global inclination is to let the treaty be regulated in its most light-touch interpretation. We hope that this will continue, and look forward to the opportunity to contribute in the ensuing era of momentous change.

Learn more about FAAR: Fashioning Aerospace for Advanced Realities

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Variations on Fashion of the Future, Part II

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Variations on Fashion of the Future, Part II

The themes of space and futurism come up every so often in the editorial pages, sometimes full of imagination, sometimes more literal. Here we lay out a few notable examples from the glossies, part deux:

Raquel Zimmermann in "Out of this World" by Steven Klein for Vogue November 2013

Arthur Gosse and John todd in "Manhattan Psycho" by Matthew Brookes for Numéro Homme #24

Melissa Tammerijn & Josephine Skriver in "Futurama" by Chad Pitman for Interview Russia August 2012

Gemma Ward by Emma Summerton for Vogue Australia December 2014

Mikkel Jensen in “La Forma Dello Spazio” by Photographer Adriano Russo for GQ Italia February 2013

Julia Nobis in"Lost in Cyberspace" by Steven Meisel for W Magazine March 2014

Alexander Ferrario and Pascal de Wolff in "Mantle" by Joe Lai for Masses Magazine

Anna Ewers "Audacieuse" by Mert and Marcus for Vogue Paris august 2014

Ulrico Eguizabal and Jose Depalanques in "The Visitors" by Anita Nava for G7 Magazine April 2011

ASIA in "Hokkus Pokus" by Elizaveta Porodina for 74 Magazine October 2012

Yasmin Warsame in "Power Station" by Francisco Garcia for the Fashion Magazine Canada October 2012

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Chemistry To The Rescue

This video is one of the earliest examples I've seen of fashion technology being presented as such, including the emphasis on "combining utility with beauty of design, and color."

"Now, let it rain."

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Variations on Fashion of the Future

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Variations on Fashion of the Future

 

The theme of space and futurism comes up every so often in the editorial pages, sometimes more literally than others. Here we lay out a few notable examples from the glossies:

Raquel Zimmermann in "The Final Frontier" by Steven Klein for Vogue September 2013

Cosmonaut Fashion by Arthur Elgort Vogue Russia December 1999

Krystal Glynn by Nick Scott for Madison Magazine October 2011

Kinga Rajzak in “The Lady Who Fell to Earth” by Tim Walker for Vogue UK October 2009  

Karen Elson in “Space Odyssey” by Photographer Steven Klein for Vogue September 2012

Nicole Anderson by Steven MeiselVogue Italia December 1997

Mariacarla Boscono in "Like a Warrior"  by Tim Walker for Vogue Italia March 2014

Peter Lindbergh, Vogue Italia 2007 "Tomorrow Vision"

Karlie Kloss by Maciek Kobielski for WSJ December 2015/January 2016

Andrej Pejic in "Gold Digger" by Anthony Maule for Dazed & Confused April 2011

Frida Gustavsson & Nimue Smit in "Back to the Future" by Mert & Marcus for Interview September 2012 

Grace Guozhi in "Shenzhou 9" by Marc de Groot for Vogue Netherlands September 2012

"Launch into Fall" by Terry Richardson for Harpers Bazaar July 2014

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The opportunity behind the story: NASA is running out of Spacesuits

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The opportunity behind the story: NASA is running out of Spacesuits

There aren’t a whole lot of active astronauts (46 total at NASA), but for those active at NASA today, they might be stuck on earth when their next space tours come around because NASA is running out of Spacesuits.

According to Business Insider, Astronauts have been traveling in the same suits since 1981. These suits have been repaired upon each return to earth, however they are beginning to show signs of failure, such as water leakage, that could turn fatal. 

How did this happen?

NASA has spread their funds thin across three companies, each answering to a different suit serving a different function in space. Even with between 12-138 million dollars in funding, none of the three companies were able to complete a new suit. It is time for NASA to reassess, and figure out if they can work with the existing suits on repairs, or if they need a next generation suit to replace it.

One compelling opportunity that this problem brings up is that the need for competition and innovation in space apparel is already necessary. This need will only accelerate the more success we see in the private space industry. While it may be early for small businesses to begin investing tens of millions of dollars to answer NASA's current predicament, it's a sign that heading in the direction of building such capabilities is a reasonable strategy decision.

To learn more about real people who are making space suits, watch the video below featuring Final Frontier Design.*

*In 2016 I designed a product for FFD in the interest of expanding their commercial apparel business

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Fashion & Aerospace: Round table takeaways

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Fashion & Aerospace: Round table takeaways

Why Fashion & Aerospace?

These words together represent a hidden world of opportunity between art and science that carries major implications for the future. It is about making aerospace more relatable and embracing the idea that we have so much more growth to look forward to amongst humanity, but also about fashion embracing its best qualities and creating pathways to innovation otherwise remotely possible through fashion.

Gemini viii

Gemini viii

 
Alexander McQueen spring 2012

Alexander McQueen spring 2012

It is a chance for a marketing executive and fashion technologists to collaborate with aerospace engineers and create marketable products for the real world, terrestrially, today. It is an opportunity for companies selling the dream of space travel to create experiences that tap into basic human emotions that create long-lasting bonds. Through materials science and manufacturing technology, it is a time for science fiction to become manifest throughout our daily lives. And it is an opportunity to explore the awe that space can inspire through design, immersive experiences, and artful communication.

Eager to gather together brilliant minds also motivated by these issues, Starkweather hosted the first Fashion & Aerospace Round Table discussion in New York on March 8th. With representatives from fashion, aerospace, materials science, medicine, law and communications, this multidisciplinary group identified some highly compelling themes within this ongoing conversation.

Galaxy Cluster Abell 2218

Galaxy Cluster Abell 2218

These five key takeaways from the first fashion & aerospace round table just scratch the surface of what we can and will achieve together:

1) The inherent contradiction between the two is a direct indicator of the value they can bring each other:

“Fashion is inherently human, Aerospace is not.”

Within that contradiction lies the opportunity. Tension, diverse experiences and differing points of view allow for new discussions to take place that wouldn’t be considered in a silo. From that, the breadth and depth of the issues encompassed by Fashioning Aerospace are revealed. This is very intriguing because it signifies meaningful scalability and significant potential impact.

The words next to each other tell a compelling story that is so much more complex than the sum of their parts. In fact it will be our challenge to constantly poke and prod the intersection in order to access the areas of greatest potential impact. We will likely keep ourselves surprised and delighted for a long to come by the products of this discussion and community.

2) New materials and manufacturing are two areas of industry that represent important commercial opportunity between science and design, today. Because their motivations are different, and the way they handle materials is different, their desires and curiosity will lead to different questions and to different applications. The potential advances that can be made through collaboartive, multidisciplinary development could take us leaps and bounds ahead of where siloed development would.

3) There are important legal and ethical considerations that we will need to address along the way. As with any new technology, we will face questions about how to handle the changes to our daily lives and what we are willing to give up of what we know to adopt change.

Space exploration has always been an international effort, whether in competition or in concert, and this will certainly only become more true. There will be questions of how to prepare for the global interactions on this level and who will be setting the regulations in the final frontier. Cultural differences and conflicting priorities around the globe will have to be respectfully adressed.

We should have these discussions early and often.

4) Education and Immersive Experience are going to be essential tools for engaging the broader public over time. Imagination, creativity and science fiction offer endless possibilities for storytelling and entertainment. The fashion industry excells in marketing, and in creating a sense of aspiration amongst consumers. While artful fashion can inspire awe in an audience, the awesomeness of space is irreplicable. Our challenge will be to find ways to communicate that feeling expressed by astronauts who have experienced the “overview effect” to the public. We can have a lot of fun with this, using both traditional methods and new technology, reaching the imaginaitons of the creatives and the analytical alike.

5) The conversation of Fashion & Aerospace is more than just about Fashion and about Aerospace. It is about the implications on a philosophical, economical, physiological, and sociological level. It is a conversation about entire environments and creating a new world for humans to live in that takes the same considerations as fashion, regarding the individual and the necessity of human expression. This conversation is also about science learning how to treat humans more humanely. We are at an intersection where our technological capabilities allow us to explore creative interpretations of new advancements, and from our position in the world we have the privilege to do so.

N90 region new stars, Hubble

N90 region new stars, Hubble

 
Alexander McQueen Atlantis collection

Alexander McQueen Atlantis collection

It will be thrilling to watch this area of industry evolve as we get into more specialized conversations and expand the community. It will also continue to inspire and invigorate, when generous and bright individuals come around a table and spark each other’s imaginations and curiosity. This is the power that both fashion and space share: dreaming of what is possible, and pushing boundaries to get to closer to the answers we seek.

Starkweather is organizing a larger, mixed-format event to take place in Spring 2018, with a series of round tables leading up to the 2018 symposium. Sign up below to stay engaged.

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