The operations phase of a new infrastructure may last for a century or more. It is during this phase that “real progress” occurs because this is where society gains the ability to operate in an improved manner and, consequently, the standard of living is increased and new wealth is created.
A very good example is the Internet. While computers had been in use for nearly a generation and personal computers for about a decade, the international networking of these computers—the new information sharing logistics infrastructure we call the Internet—enabled substantial economic and personal betterment. While the initial build-out of the Internet created new business and technology insertion opportunities, the operations phase, starting in the mid-1990’s, is when substantial profits and business valuation increases started to be realized. (Think of Google®.) Profit and increased business valuation are two important measures of progress because they reflect the value of the new products to society.
The beginning of the operational phase of the Internet is also a very good example of how a new infrastructure’s ability to provide access to a new frontier—in this case, a new virtual frontier—stimulates optimistic societal views of the future. It opened the door to significant business expansion with a new paradigm of success; where entrepreneurs with better ideas had an even playing field for competing with businesses successful in the more traditional brick and mortar business environment. This enabled AOL®, Yahoo®, Google®, and Amazon®, as well-recognized examples, to lead the establishment of a new “Internet economy” and create substantial new wealth and job growth. Comparable new business opportunities will be created with the initiation of operations of an integrated spacefaring logistics infrastructure. (See block 3 in the figure above.)
In addition to the opportunity for new business creation, the operations phase also creates significant long-term business opportunities for managing, operating, updating, and maintaining the new infrastructure creates (See block 2, above, and block 4 below.)
For “new space” companies, these two blocks are especially important as bringing a new spacefaring logistics infrastructure into operation will create new space entrepreneurial business opportunities. For example:
- Spaceline companies will be formed to operate reusable aerospaceplanes.
- Infrastructure management companies will be created to operate orbiting space logistics bases.
- Logistical services companies will be established to provide a wide range of logistics services for expanding American human and robotic space operations.
Comparable terrestrial examples of these logistical services include trucking companies, fueling stations, restaurants, motels, tourist areas, distributed manufacturing plants, integrated supply chains for production and delivery, suburban home building, and regional malls. For the Internet, examples include text, video, and voice communications; movies on demand; on-line sales; and, on-line information and consultation services.)