CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
October 21, 2018
Forward Thinking

Space: the final supply chain frontier

Forward Thinking
An infographic developed by Florida Tech University illustrates the size and complexity of space project supply chains.

Think you have problems managing supply chains here on earth? Try doing it in outer space. Transporting people, technology, and equipment between earth and space is a uniquely complex and costly mission, according to "The Space Supply Chain Today and Tomorrow," an infographic created by Florida Tech University Online's supply chain master's program.

The "by the numbers" graphic lists interesting facts about what it calls "Mankind's biggest supply chain": the number of suppliers in the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) supply chain (1,500), the number of satellite and rocket launches in 2011 (84), and the payload cost per pound to enter orbit (US $6,000 for low-earth orbit; $30,000 for geosynchronous transfer orbit). Cost to ship one gallon of water to the moon: $690,000.

Florida Tech's supply chain gurus say the next step in space supply chain design will be setting up bases and distribution networks on asteroids and the moon. They should know: The university's original mission was to provide advanced education for scientists, engineers, and technicians at what is now NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center, and the university counts several astronauts and many NASA managers among its graduates.

View the infographic here.

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