New Space is the term I use to describe a new trend in space. In contrast, Old Space is the term I use to describe how NASA has traditionally done space in the past with cost-plus type contracts.
Apollo and Shuttle were Old Space.
In the articles below, I’ll explain New Space by using examples from the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract and the Commercial Crew Program contract (CCP) that NASA awarded to carry supplies and crew to the International Space Station (ISS).
It’s important to note that while NASA is always in the middle of Old Space (via funding, management, and oversight), NASA isn’t always involved in New Space ventures—and when they are, they play a lesser role.
When NASA is involved, New Space contracts almost always begin with a different contract type—which affects who (NASA or contractor) carries most of the risk and ultimately owns the technology.
New Space is SpaceX designing and building a launch vehicle capability before they had a customer. New Space is Blue Origin building a vehicle to take paying tourists to the edge of space on a ten-minute joy ride.
But New Space doesn’t end there.
Understanding the difference between New Space and Old Space is important and will serve as a foundation for further discussions about getting more space for the same amount of money.