This overview paper will set the scene by reviewing the totality of the framework of commercial opportunity. Several mainstream areas such as communications, Earth observations, navigation and the use of space stations will be dealt with in detailed papers later, and this paper will seek only to put their timescale and prospects into perspective. Other areas that have not yet matured to major levels of activity in the process of industrialization will be discussed, to provide a balanced viewpoint. The inter-relations of technology with finance, industrial relations, national and international policies will be reviewed in the framework of the complex nature of the development and exploitation of space projects, particularly highlighting those aspects that relate to the developing countries of the world, who are already deeply involved, and will become increasingly so, in the space business. The manner in which the world community organizes itself in space activities will have a profound effect on the level of benefits we can gain in the future from our technical achievements. Some of the options will be described and the implications considered of how we move further into the industrial future in space.