Over 5 Years Participation in Space Resources Events

Asteroids, CisLunar, Lunar Resources, Moon, Moon Exploration, Retail, Space Economy

Written by Simon Drake

Since we founded Space Ventures Investors over 10 years ago we have built a company to evolve with technological waves, and an unexpected one came about 5 years ago.

The Space Ventures Investors journey into space resources was driven by our own surveys filled, out by prospective investors, where about half of respondents were interested in a space resources investment.

At first, at the time, as a founder-CEO, monitoring our first pre-seed investments in innovative Earth Observation start-ups, this posed a research challenge: What was the progress in this field, was it actually investible, and if so, how to benchmark it?

This research challenge led me to participate in a growing number of space resources focussed events, in-person and online. What I found was a nascent industry made up of scientists, academics, entrepreneurs, and newcomers from various fields (aerospace, engineering, biology) who understood the vision and were now self-organising and forming the basic building blocks of new industry. A Space Resources Industry sounds easy to visualise but the technical intellect and supply chain to make space resources possible is complicated and extensive from theoretical launch to actual target in the future, be it a frozen South Pole crater on the Moon, or a Near Earth Asteroid whizzing by Earth. Who understands the physics? Who can build the detection, extraction and transport systems? And there are no off-the-shelf CubeSats to fill the gaps. Everything has to be invented. I was hooked.

The goal of my research was to establish what was possible, what could I bring to the table. I chose Lunar Resources (I have my own portfolio of commodity and resources stocks) and applied Earth Observation techniques. I attended as many events as possible, and out of several of them, I came back with the idea for a Lunar Resources Registry. This concept we then refined and eventually participated in a European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre.

Space Resources events are an important part of our society and culture, and while other areas receive a brighter spotlight and are having their moments, the human quest for resources is ongoing and driven by more than the desire to explore. Humanity need resources. Space is difficult. That’s it. Buckle up and get on with it.

My participation in many events has sharpened my focus on what is required, what can and should be invested in, thus enabling the real game-changers for space resource to enter at a pivotal growth stage: The small (by size) investor. Large investors have mandates, they have quarterly commitments, their staff move on chasing big deals and a new crop of analysts talk up existing stale assets. Space resources as an investment is incredibly time intensive, the technology requires multiple re-tooling and stages of “bumpy” to say the least funding; public and private as an example. The best investors for space resources are the retail investors because they have the patience, they understand the long term vision and the pay-off: Imagine having your future retirement funded by the proceeds from a commercial mine in space, or to be more technical and prophetic, a nickel refining operation on the Lunar surface that support the building of infrastructure facilities funded by space agencies and blue chip construction companies. You get the picture.

Below are some of the events I have attended, either representing Space Ventures Investors or Lunar Resources Registry.

Space Resources Week, organised by ESRIC.

Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium, organised by John Hopkins Applied Physic Laboratory.

The Space Resources Roundtable, organised by Colorado School of Mines.

Global Expert Group on Sustainable Lunar Activities, part of Moon Village Association.

Also related: Over 10 Years of Attendance at European Space Events

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