The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy (CSPS) released a new publication that explores the growing popularity of public-private partnerships. The policy paper, Public-Private Partnerships: Stimulating Innovation in the Space Sector, outlines a phased approach for strategizing, planning, and implementing such collaborative arrangements for space-based services and how to optimize the best outcome for all.
“Governments seeking to provide satellite communications, navigation, Earth monitoring, space exploration, and other space applications recognize the significant role that the private sector can play in delivering these capabilities at reduced cost and risk,” said author Karen Jones, senior project leader with CSPS. “By leveraging commercial efficiencies and innovation these public-private partnerships can provide significant advantages to government agencies while sharing risk in exchange for profits linked to performance.”
The paper provides numerous case studies and delineates lessons learned from different public-private partnerships in the U.S. and abroad —some successful, and others less so. These lessons include reviewing the business model, creating a shared vision, dealing with changing needs, fostering competition, motivating profit-based organizations, building long-term alliances, establishing payment schedules, and sharing data.
Dr. Jamie Morin, executive director for CSPS, said, “There is no single recipe for success, and these partnerships are not appropriate for all programs and objectives in the space domain. Still, for those projects that can apply them, public-private partnerships offer potential advantages in terms of delivery schedules, quality of service, and innovation.”
Jones suggests that an ideal partnership involves a delicate balance, where the government does not give up too much control and the private sector does not assume too much risk. Moreover, any such arrangement must abide by the guiding principles of neutrality, transparency, accountability, and governance.
About the Center for Space Policy and Strategy
The Center for Space Policy and Strategy is dedicated to shaping the future by providing nonpartisan research and strategic analysis to decisionmakers. The Center is part of The Aerospace Corporation, a nonprofit that provides objective advice to the government on complex space enterprise and systems engineering problems.