Preamble: Nontraditional space initiatives have been emerging in recent years from the private sector, with seemingly exotic objectives such as space tourism and asteroid mining. They are indicative of a new level of maturity and innovation in space technology and understanding. These developments have set the stage for the seventh RAST Conference (RAST2015), for which the theme was decided as “EMERGING PRIVATE SPACE”. RAST2015 will be held on 16-19 June 2015 again in Istanbul. RAST Conferences are open to all areas of space although each conference tries to focus on its specific theme as well.
Objectives: Commercial space has been around for several decades, in space communications, Earth observation and launch services. However, other commercial space initiatives have been emerging recently, with completely different and “out of this World” goals. Space tourism, asteroid mining and certain curiosity driven objectives are prime areas of those initiatives. In addition to technological feasibility, there are a number of other issues which require careful analysis. While entrepreneurs may be mostly concerned with financial, operational and market viability, governments and international institutions must be prepared to deal with legal and regulatory matters. Then there are the physiological and psychological issues regarding humans in space. International space law will need new interpretations and extensions to cover probable disputes which are already being pronounced, such as unrestricted access to space resources.
RAST2015 has the main objective of providing a forum for the presentation and review of recent developments in private and nontraditional space initiatives, that is, developing and using space technologies for objectives which have hitherto been considered exotic or unconventional, including new ways of accessing space with humans or robots. It has always been the wish and the goal of the organizers to make RAST 2015 a premier event in space technology developments especially those on the way to near future deployment and of interest to a large part of the space community.