Space: The New Economy

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Todd May, Director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center told the 2018 Edison Awards attendees that “early space advances centered around being first.”

“The next frontier is deep space exploration,” he continued—the vehicles, technology and infrastructure necessary for space travel. He stressed the need to work collaboratively when creating the support systems needed to develop space, such as supply vehicles, propulsion, etc.

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) is the most powerful rocket NASA has ever built, designed so astronauts can explore destinations far into the solar system.  May told the audience that the SLS is ready for launch now. (To further explore the layered complexities of budgets, program management and space technology, read more of May’s SpaceNews interview here.)

“Space is not a program.  Space is a place. Because it is a place, people will do the same things they do when they go to other places; they will create the things that they need to sustain life.”

So saying, David Hurst, Founder & CEO, Orbital Transports, neatly summed up both humans and the burgeoning space market during his appearance at the 2018 Edison Awards event last week in New York.

With the Bank of America predicting that the space industry will be worth almost $3 trillion by 2050, entrepreneurial opportunities in this sector have an almost literal “the sky’s the limit.”

“Orbital Transports is a space logistics and orbital infrastructure company with a long-term goal of enabling human settlement of the Solar System. This vision frames and directs everything we do, and we are building a profitable business at every step of the way. As a space logistics company, we coordinate the complex elements involving space vehicles, people, facilities, and services required to make our customers’ space missions a success.”  (Read more of Hurst’s VoyageChicago interview here.)

With rockets like Falcon Heavy(from former Edison Achievement Award Winner Elon Musk’s team at SpaceX) or VSS Unity from Virgin Galactic, or SNC’s Dream Chaser, such dreams are becoming reality.   Lockheed Martin, whose CEO Marillyn Hewson has been awarded the 2018 Edison Achievement Award, has built more interplanetary spacecraft than any company and more than all U.S. companies combined.

Along with those massive rockets, Hurst pointed out the Nanosatellite Revolution will give everyone access to space with shoebox-sized, cost-effective nanosatellites brought to us by companies such as Planet, Spire Global and Nanoracks.

Exploration and development of space is exploding with opportunities, with companies such as Nanoly delivering medicine into cells and Made In Space manufacturing products such as the first 3D printer that works in space, with companies such as Moon Express transporting people and supplies beyond Earth’s atmosphere, while Bigelow Aerospace installed the first expandable module on the International Space Station.

 

 

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Mellissa Hopkins

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