Not the final frontier. Space opportunities are just beginning.
This July marks the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing, an event that inspired millions at the time and still ignites the imaginations of explorers of all ages today. There is something about the idea of outer space, expansive yet empty, harsh yet beautiful, that continually captivates us. It is awe-inspiring and overwhelming and intimidating. And yet we continue to push ourselves to go there.
While space flight has seemed to slow down since 1969, that should not give the impression that the space industry is not alive and well. In fact, the space economy is booming. It is estimated that the global space economy will exceed $1 trillion by the year 2040. It is natural that new and existing companies alike would be interested in participating in the opportunities that this represents. The trick is to monitor where the industry is going and understand the trends and potential secondary and tertiary markets they may create.
For example, the world has been watching the work of SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, waiting to see when commercial human spaceflight will become a reality. When that happens, it will create an entirely new industry – space tourism – and that industry will require services and support. Graduates of hotel management programs, for instance, will be valuable assets to companies looking to understand what space hotels will need. There is room for everybody in space.
Furthermore, the markets and skills that companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic rely on will also see a boom. Areas like cybersecurity, intelligence, and UAVs are expected to double in the next 5-10 years. While those innovations will be necessary for making the next space milestone, they will also have massive implications on the world here on Earth. While space may be a vacuum, the innovations of space exploration are not created in one – the inventions produced by our dreams of leaving this planet continue to impact and influence our communities here in profound ways.
So how do you make sure that you are a part of this massive, exciting opportunity? Your job is not just to monitor these trends, but also to anticipate the broader ecosystem that will support them. What new needs will crop up, and how can you help meet them? If we are at step 1 now, what will the market look like at step 4 and 5? Prepare for that reality now to ensure that when the opportunity arises you are ready. After all, while the civil sector will always ground the space economy, it’s the private sector that has the ability to grow, pivot, and innovate in the years to come. To get you started, we have compiled a list of 13 technology trends worth watching in the space economy. Where do you fit?
13 Space Tech Trends to Watch
1. Data and data analytics, Earth imaging and data collection
2. Energy and energy storage
3. Biometrics and health
4. Creature comforts (CO2, food storage, waste management, etc.)
6. Miniaturization of materials
7. Textiles and advanced manufacturing techniques
8. Environmental assessment
9. Satellite servicing and repair
13. Debris monitoring and clean-up