Very unfortunate – but you're right. I've removed it.
Hopefully some new startups emerge in the 2020s.
IMHO beginning in late-2021 there will be a sudden shift in the cost of space, since the market is so centralised with a small number of launch companies comprising the bulk of all missions (iirc, SpaceX is close to accounting for as many launches per year as all competitors combined, globally).
Thus, when SpaceX rolls out a fully-reusable launch vehicle, the entire market will shift kilter quite dramatically.
Having read through Leo On The Cheap (I recommend this as required reading for anyone who cares about the topic!) and doing some financial modelling in my free time of the impact of SpaceX's fully reusable rocketry (my job is financial analysis), I believe that upon its introduction, based on Musk's palmed out tidbits of information, it will be a seriously surprising and sudden shift. Nobody will be prepared for it, and it will be jarring.
SS/SH is slated to first fly in 2020. I suspect that between the close of 2021 and 2026, the world will see a flurry of excited entrepreneurial effort and VC cash flood the space sector. My gut tells me there will be a 5-8 year flood of excessive resources flowing into the sector followed by a massive culling (I haven't, nor known how to, systematically modelled this). By 2030, the market will have trimmed the vast majority of the bad/premature enterprises and by the early 2030s, it will be so incredibly obvious that we have entered the era of commercialised deep space (though I think the supermajority of all energies here will be in cislunar space) that it will be a bygone conclusion we're in the Space Age proper.
DSI and Planetary Resources came too early. The infrastructure simply wasn't available to make their ideas a mainstream success. They also started their enterprises the bad way--all VC investment with no immediate cashflow. It's a good chemical signature of businesses that are built on faulty principles. No matter how good an idea is, there's nothing like the reality check of making (or failing to make) money to determine whether your day is spent productively or futilely.
There was a German gunsmith in the 1630s who built a repeating rifle with a rate of fire that wouldn't be matched until the 1800s. His name was Kalthoff and his weapon was known as the Kalthoff repeater. Even though it was a solid idea, arguably ahead of its time, it was so complex to make, given the manufacturing of the time period, and so costly in man hours, that only a few hundred examples were ever made. Repeating rifles are obviously a good idea, but an idea doesn't exist in isolation. It's dependent on the industrial maturity that enables (or incapacitates) it. DSI and PR were the same--arguably a good idea but simply not viable with the surrounding infrastructure. Every business is the knob at the end of an upstream supply chain that erected it.
Personally, mate, I ain't sad. They captured the world's imagination and showed there is ample excitement to get them as far as they went. However, it's all dependent on a fully-resuable heavy lift launch vehicle (because of the Sqr-Cube law, in rocketry, the larger the cheaper).
- 2020/2021: SpaceX's SS/SH is the first fully-reusable rocket to carry payloads to orbit.
- 2021: BO launches their first revenue-raising competition. It's considerably more expensive than SS/SH, but it's their funding stream towards a competitive fully reusable vehicle.
- 2021~2026: There's a Cambrian explosion of secondary space startups built on the excitement of the new capabilities.
- 2026~2030: Most die off because commercialising space is hard and requires at least half-a-decade of industrial learning to figure out.
- 2030+: Those who have survived (+ a continuous ongoing stream of more startups) go on to become the next BHP / Bath Iron Works of space.
P.s., I realise we spoke about this, Will, in our private chat, but I wanna say that there's no reason to feel particularly sad about this Chris Lewicki is a clever and charismatic guy and he'll be fine in the future. Hell, we might even see his resurgence. PR was an inspiring endeavour but it just wasn't to be. Call it fate. There will be more exciting startups and the 2020's at large will be euphoric for us space enthusiasts. I'm sure our generation will always remember them as being the harbingers but the deep space age proper is yet to come and coming very quickly. 2021, brother bear! Access to space is becoming cheap and the most technologically tough part of commercialising space is getting to space. There are many hard challenges going forward, but with space, the hardest part comes first. The hard part is also almost *figured* out.
Only take advice from people who have what you want.
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Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. - Abraham Lincoln.