Think you have problems managing supply chains here on Earth? Try doing it in outer space. As an infographic developed by Florida Tech University Online's supply chain master's program shows, safely transporting people, technology, and equipment between earth and space is a uniquely complex and costly mission. Supply chain management plays an important role in space travel and the future of space commerce, according to the infographic, titled "The Space Supply Chain Today and Tomorrow."
The "by the numbers" graphic lists interesting facts about what it calls "Mankind's biggest supply chain": the number of suppliers in NASA's supply chain (1,500), the number of satellite and rocket launches in 2011 (84), and the payload cost per pound to enter orbit ($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.
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