Expanding beyond Earth
published Thursday, 14 May 2009, 18:12 by ZPSHicks
While the 21st century saw Humanity's forrays into space ebb and flow, the 22nd century was far more positive. Several key events contributes to an explosive growth in the space industry all around the globe.
In the latter half of the 21st century the world was experiencing a cautious economic upswing. Commercial interest in space was slowly rising, following the successful deployment of the joint Chinese-European lunar research bases. But it took the Japanese built and privately owned space station "Hotel Dawn" to fully jolt the European space businesses to life. Despite catering only to the ultra-wealthy, at the time it opens in 2080 the waiting list for a vacation in space are years long. It manages to operate at a profit, sending the budding aerospace industry skyrocketing. Companies from the western world soon lay plans for a settlement on the moon, catering to low gravity manufacturing, Helium-3 mining and tourism.
Meanwhile, the aging International Space Station, still in orbit after its abandonment in 2025, steps back onto the world stage. It is refitted and reopened in 2097 for the purpose of performing high energy experiments. Just a few short years later the team of scientists are successful beyond their wildest dreams, creating the worlds first Zero Point Energy reaction.
With limitless energy came an enormous growth curve in space exploration. The commercial sector went beyond exponential growth, with an increasing number of privately run orbital stations and lunar facilities under construction. More and more countries of Earth join with the ITO alliance, and under its guidance mining facilities are erected on Mars and even as far away as the asteroid belt.