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The Space+ NFT collection launched during the crypto crash, and despite these uncertainties, the success of the project signals faith in the industry.

The Space+ NFT collection sold out—despite minting during the crypto crash

Uplift Aerospace is just a short time away from selecting its first ever astronaut, selected from a pool of applicants that hold the company’s Space+ NFTs.

Uplift Aerospace’s minting period for its Launch Pass collection ended the last week of May, with the 1,969 (the year of the first moon landing) NFTs selling out at a price of 0.17 ETH each, which equates to about $334 as of writing. 

This came despite weeks of uncertainty in the NFT realm, described as “one of the scariest times in crypto” by the Space+ Twitter account. Many cryptocurrencies saw their values dive by 50 percent or more, punctuated by the LUNA token losing over 99 percent of its value and the UST ‘stablecoin’ de-pegging from the dollar.

Because of the instability, on May 13, Uplift Aerospace offered current holders the chance to return their NFTs for a full refund of 0.17 ETH per launch pass, but Uplift Aerospace CEO and founder Josh Hanes says less than 10 people opted for refunds.

“That’s a great sign for us. The people in our community are committed and they see value in what we’re offering them,” Hanes says.

One of those NFT holders will win a trip to space, traveling aboard New Shepard, Blue Origin’s suborbital rocket. The application period is open until June 7, after which five finalists will be selected by a blind third-party review and announced on June 13th. Voting will occur in the Space+ Discord group on June 14 and the first Space+ astronaut will be selected that day.

“This is our first class of astronaut applicants. You can think of the Apollo missions where you had a group of applicants apply, and then they had the class of astronauts, and they would select one for a mission,” Hanes says. “That’s how we’re viewing this. This is our web3 space program, this is our first mission, and we’re going to be selecting a class to represent us, and then the community will vote on the one person who will go on this mission.”

Uplift Aerospace plans to do future space missions after this one, so this mission’s astronaut hopefully won’t be the last one to book their ticket through the Space+ NFT project. Beyond the mission, the company has goals relating to social, digital, and physical infrastructure and commerce in space. 

The Space+ roadmap also lists future missions, providing holders access to zero gravity flights, space simulations, and more. Launch Pass NFT collection holders will also be airdropped one of the company’s Starborn profile pictures per pass and a discounted Starborn collection mint when that collection drops later this year. All the work for that next collection is finished, and all holders of those NFTs will get to participate in what Uplift Aerospace has planned with NASA on the International Space Station, as well as its metaverse experiences. Hanes isn’t ready to say the exact price of that mint, but it will be below 0.1 ETH, with closer to 11,000 NFTs in the collection.

In January, Uplift Aerospace announced that the company had signed a contract with NASA to launch what it is calling a “Constellation Vault” on the International Space Station. The vault will serve as an exhibit platform for rare coins, jewelry, artwork, and more, which will be made available for purchase at later dates.

Hanes has said that we’re in the beginning of a space economy, which he hopes Uplift Aerospace will be at the forefront of. This is being spurred by easier access to space travel in recent years, with advancing technology and dropping costs. According to the Planetary Society, the Apollo program cost the United States $25.8 billion, or about $257 billion when adjusted for inflation, as of 2020. For reference, NASA announced in September of 2020 that it expected a cost of about $28 billion to land on the moon in 2024, according to Phys.org.

“We went to the moon with the Apollo missions, and that was about 50 years ago. And the question everybody asks is ‘Why have we gone backwards since then? Why haven’t we gone back to the moon?’ And the answer to that is because it wasn’t economically feasible,” Hanes says. “We went to the moon, put billions of dollars into it, but the result of it from an economic standpoint was there was no viable commerce model. It was still too expensive to go to space, and it wasn’t happening frequently enough. That all changed around 2017. Our frequency to access space has skyrocketed and then the cost has started to plummet.”

With that comes increased access to commerce opportunities and the ability to “connect communities on Earth with communities in space,” as Hanes puts it.

“Right now, it’s hard for most people to engage in any way when it comes to space exploration,” he says. “But if you have a social infrastructure and a digital [infrastructure], that allows for a much more diverse group.”

Starborn collection holders will be able to interact, via the metaverse, with items physically on the International Space Station, represented as 3D replicas of the objects and created as NFTs. 

Hanes says through NFTs, Starborn holders will be able to own items that are in space at the time.

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