How Kickstarter is helping to promote private space flight

Crowdfunding has helped inventors invent, filmmakers bring their visions to the screen and artists create their own comic books. Yet can this technology-driven method of funding provide a boost to the private space race? A recent story by PCMag has a surprising answer: Yes.

Kickstarter in space?

The PCMag story details the efforts of Michael Laine, former NASA engineer and the founder of LiftPort. He’s trying to develop a new, rocket-less way to get to the moon, what he calls a lunar elevator. Will it work? Who knows? But Laine has attracted the eye of investors by way of a Kickstarter campaign. His goal for the campaign had been to raise $8,000. Instead, it produced a remarkable $110,000.

An opening

NASA created an opportunity for private entrepreneurs to get into the space race after it killed its shuttle program and put a temporary hold on its own space plans. Entrepreneurs are now hitting the marketplace with their own plans to explore the cosmos. And, as the PCMag story says, crowdfunding is increasingly supplying the seed funds for these endeavors.

Space-age success

Planetary Resources has turned to crowdfunding, too, using its own Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising $1 million to produce a low-Earth orbit telescope. As PCMag reports, this campaign was successful, too. The company in just 32 days received $1.5 million from 17,600 supporters.