Human engagement with space over the years has created a foundation of knowledge on building machines that can survive harsh temperatures, support humans, and also function in remote and challenging areas
Fremont, CA: Over the last fifty-odd years, humanity has witnessed multiple milestones being achieved on the space frontier. From the launch of Sputnik in 1957 to the Apollo 11 in 1969, space agencies of various nations have always looked to outclass their previous achievements. However, the last decade has been a very significant one for the whole world. Space, which was once a private territory, restricted to governments and their agencies alone, has now become a dominion of private companies. Today, you can find all sorts of entities, from multibillion Dollar companies to two people startups, investing in space technology. At the same time, companies that have been in the space industries for decades are now rethinking their strategies and aligning them as per modern-day requirements.
Human engagement with space over the years has created a foundation of knowledge on building machines that can survive harsh temperatures, support humans, and also function in remote and challenging areas. Engaging in the space business has become much more comfortable with access to greater knowledge on the space frontier and superior technology. In addition, the emergence of smaller satellites that operate at lower altitudes has led to more startup satellite companies with small investments venturing into the space business. For such companies with small capitals, business-driven innovation and technology are the primary motivating factor. Just like other sectors, space also faces issues like demand, markets, business plans, targets, investment, and regulations.
Billionaire backed enterprises like Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, and Blue Origin are well known to people. There are hundreds of smaller companies surrounding these big names, founded by space veterans and college students. Such companies have less profit-making goals and are more oriented towards exploiting the technology offered by CubeSats and SmallSats.
Increasing Number of Space Startups
The U.S policy decisions of the mid-2000s paved the way for startups to enter the space frontier without having significant financial backing. The flexible policies made it easier for small startups to operate. However, the global market is catching up and at a quick pace too. Young emerging entrepreneurs are flourishing by coming up with innovative ideas that capture a lot of attention.
The rate of growth of the space-based economy has led to national governments and international bodies debating on what regulations are appropriate and what standards are minimum, defining the rules of conduct in space for both machines and humans. These common ground rules must be established globally as it helps prevent mishaps in space. Startups engaging in the space business must also develop a healthy business plan and secure funding, keeping in mind the dynamics of the demand and supply chain.
Global Space Economy - USD 360 Billion
The opening up of the space market to private companies has attracted a massive wave of investors, with an abundance of creative ideas and energy. Ideas like space hotels, human transportation systems, human-tended laboratories, in-space manufacturing, energy harvesting, asteroid mining, fueling depots, Earth imagery, and small satellite constellation-based internet services, all emerged after the opening up of the market. Companies offering communication technologies, sensor platforms, training programs, propulsion technologies, and specialized launch services have also emerged along with new investors. These associated services provide the necessary support for the growth of space technology and are equally responsible for the rapid growth of the space industry. Long-standing space companies have also invested heavily in the research and development of space technology, leveraging the broad growing area of interest around space. However, space explorations can be challenging, and all ideas need not be successful. Even the biggest of space agencies like NASA has faced multiple failures during its missions.
With the evolution of the space industry comes more challenges. The participation of multiple nations in various space programs leads to a diverse and dynamic scenario, that can run chaotic if not managed properly. In addition to the regular group of astronauts, engineers, and scientists, the global space market today requires people like lawyers, entrepreneurs, investors of all stripes, insurance companies, standards organizations, university professors and their students, small businesses, artists, and entertainers. The industry is not private anymore and requires proper communication with diverse people to ensure that there are no mishaps.
With multiple nations investing in space technology, the need of the hour has become to create a global forum where all participating countries come to a mutual agreement on the rule of participation. The diversity that each nation brings can help set the tone for achieving common goals and take the human race a step further, in conquering the unconquered.
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