“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
― Neil Armstrong
Since the launch of the first artificial satellite (Sputnik in 1957), to the first manned spaceflight, to the first moonwalk (By Neil Armstrong in 1969), space has long served as a global hub for innovation, pushing the boundaries of the known to the unknown.
In the past few decades of the 21st century, space has become a dominant domain for investment, technology, science, and intelligence. Since the Cold War space race of the 20th century, mankind has seen and heard of the most rapid advances in space developments in recent years. Space technology and exploration has regained its position as a vital focus of governments because of the opportunities it offers economic growth and technological advancements- unlike in the 20th century, space exploration is no longer an exclusive club for wealthy countries or world superpowers in the Western hemisphere. Instead, it has filtered into the government interests of over 90 countries around the world (approximately 10,000 firms and 5,000 investors have recently become a part of the space economy).
What is the Space economy?
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, it is described as any activity that includes exploring, managing, researching, and utilizing space. Simply put, the space economy is the production of goods and services that will be used for space exploration and has become vitally important for economic growth in today’s world of advanced intelligence development and strides in science and technology (according to a report released by the World Economic Forum, the space economy is worth around $469 billion). Since man first landed on the moon in July 1969, space exploration has become more affordable (in the past decade rocket prices have dropped 4 times) guaranteeing that space investments will not be limited to governments but also wide-open to private investors- most notably the likes of Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos who launched their space exploration initiatives SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin respectively. Private investments in space exploration have not only disrupted a domain once ruled over by national aeronautics agencies but also created opportunities for economic growth.
The task ahead for every investor is to prove how space can be optimized to enable economic growth.
What key industries would benefit from the growth of space exploration?
According to the European Space Agency the unprecedented growth of space technology, and the manufacture and launch of space systems have brought benefits to raw material industries, telecommunications, insurance, maritime, aviation, and insurance. Having witnessed the tremendous prospects for growth linked to the space economy, the number of state-sponsored projects has far outweighed the number sponsored at the start of the 20th century.
The space race creates 'New Frontiers' for innovation, scientific knowledge and technology. Industries like air transport, communication, weather monitoring and defense are heavily reliant on the advancement of space technology. Another area that has attracted investment is space research and development (R&D). The development of space R & D is vitally important and is projected to outperform the International Space Station by 2031; For example, as humans venture into life on Mars by launching a series of missions to the red planet, intensive research will be critical to regulating radiation and magnetic waves on the planet.
The contribution of satellites to government and policy has also intensified in the recent past. For the purpose of clarification, a satellite is an object placed to orbit outer space and can be used for communication, research and navigation. Government agencies use research and photographs captured by satellites during wars to enhance intelligence capacities of the military. Specifically, regarding climate change, for over 20 years, NASA has been using satellites to allow the close monitoring of climate patterns and environmental changes.