We present a case for funding space development projects — commercially viable, and riskier projects — with a financially engineered, risk managed “megafund”. This work is partially inspired by the work of others who have explored the potential benefits of a megafund in achieving the development goals of capital intensive, very high risk, very high reward enterprises in other industries. Andrew Lo has argued (National Academies of Sciences, “How Financial Engineering Can Cure Cancer”) that a $30 Billion megafund could help bring cancer drugs to the marketplace in a financially more efficient fashion. Could this kind of funding initiative accelerate space development? Our goal is opening energy and resource development of space, enabling the human race to become a multi-planetary species. Example opportunities include: the development of space elevators for cost-efficient access to orbit, resource extraction (asteroid mining), and space-based solar power generation for Earth-based consumption. In addition, we suggest funding the International Space Station (ISS) as a technology incubator: a properly utilised space laboratory in orbit such as the ISS has the possibility to accelerate microgravity research for the biotech, nanotech, artificial intelligence, robotics, material sciences, and other sectors. Indeed, immediate financial support and commercial use of the US Laboratory could be viewed as a prototype working example of how a larger megafund might work.
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