Tory Bruno, president and CEO of United Launch Alliance and a previous Wash100 awardee, said the U.S. government should consider producing fuel in space to stimulate the development of the space economy, SpaceNews reported Tuesday.
“What would be the one thing that the government could do, the one big lever that it could pull to stimulate economic activity in cislunar space? The answer, we believe, is the establishment of a strategic propellant reserve,” Bruno said Tuesday during a webinar organized by nonprofit Beyond Earth Institute.
He noted that more than 20B metric tons of lunar ice could be converted into rocket propellants like liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen in order to have a “self-sustaining cislunar economy.”
“All we need is the infrastructure in place to mine the ice to convert it to propellant, and to distribute it to a transportation network that would exist in cislunar space,” Bruno said.
Based on ULA’s economic models, he said a $20B infrastructure investment from the government could lead to a $3T market for space transportation, tourism, manufacturing, mining and other space activities by 2050.
ULA presented the strategic propellant reserve idea to the National Space Council and Bruno said the council agreed to further study the concept.