Investigating Public Acceptance on Public Oriented Human Space Commercialization

Investigating Public Acceptance on Public Oriented Human Space Commercialization

Alex Monchak (Department of Engineering Management, University of Houston at Clear Lake, Houston, TX, USA), Ki-Young Jeong (Department of Engineering Management, University of Houston at Clear Lake, Houston, TX, USA) and James Helm (Department of Software Engineering, University of Houston at Clear Lake, Houston, TX, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/ijstmi.2013010101
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Abstract

Based on people’s enthusiasm and economical reasons, space commercialization will get more momentum in the future, and eventually reach a full commercialization status, a public-oriented human space commercialization (POHSC) where the public freely participate and purchase space products and services. In this study, the authors conduct a survey-based research model to investigate public perception on POHSC in the human space exploration (HSE) context. The authors want to identify what factors influence public acceptance and adoption of POHSC, and to evaluate public willingness to pay for future services provided by POHSC. For these objectives, the authors develop the concept of ‘eMerge’, a conceptualized mobile device-based application tool with which the public access and pay for their services. The authors also propose the Technology Acceptance Model with ‘eMerge’ specific (TAMe). The results show that public perceptions are strongly affected by perceived availability, perceived usefulness, and perceived enjoyment to use ‘eMerge’. The Perceived availability and perceived enjoyment have significant effect on public motivation to use ‘eMerge’ by forming a positive attitude toward intention to use it. It also shows that the public have very high expectations and enthusiasm on POHSC in terms of their estimated spending on ‘eMerge’. These results can be used as base knowledge in POHSC for future R&D and commercialized technology development.
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Introduction

The aerospace industry has been striving to enhance human space exploration (HSE) technologies over the last half century as part of a nationwide research & development (R&D) project managed by government agencies like National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In parallel to this traditional movement, although it is in an early stage, the aerospace industry has been in the midst of a transition to space commercialization since 1990 (Peeters, 2003). For example, as described in Bush (2002), the development of the International Space Station (ISS) has raised a public expectation and enthusiasm about full commercialization. Recently, NASA plans to support the commercial orbital spaceflight and associated commercial use of space stations (NASA Watch, 2011). In addition to the U.S., Europe, Russia and Japan have also participated in this commercialization with fast-growing programs. For example, Arianespace in France has played a key role in the commercial launching service in 1990s (Suzuki, 2000), and it has captured more than 50% of the commercial launching market (Lionnet and Alexandrova, 2011). In fact, the ISS is the output through the international collaboration with Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan. NASA and other partners in the ISS have been seeking international collaboration to commercially utilize the ISS to reduce its operational cost and to enhance science and technology development (Rocketplane Kistler, 2011). According to Peeters (2003), the reduced government funding was one of the drivers for this commercialization path, and the most visible effect of this space commercialization was the globalization of the aerospace industry through strategic alliances. Based on this globalization, although the U.S. is still the leading nation, its market share in many space-related industry segments declines as global competition increases (Giacalone, 2008).

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