“Space does belong to us all.”
Space exploration started more than fifty years ago from small steps in satellites assembly. Fifty years ahead and the world observes a tremendous boost in space technologies and number of space missions. Future of space exploration has become closer to humanity like never before.
Mankind is eager to unlock the mysteries of the solar system and explore the Earth’s neighbouring planets, such as the Moon, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter. And not only the technological progress defines the space exploration nowadays, the process itself changed significantly. Humanity needed only 50 years to realise that moving from nations competition to cooperation would have higher synergy effect, and now the commercial era of space industry gains momentum. This is where the private investors step in, taking the space industry to a new level of development. The 21st century brought us new major players such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and others, with the first three becoming pioneers in the commercial space race of the century.
Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, does not concentrate exclusively on the commercial side of space exploration. Reservation of our planet and development of the near-Earth space colonies are at the heart of Bezos’ vision for civilisation evolution. On 5 July, Jeff Bezos step down as Amazon’s CEO in order to focus on further development of Blue Origin and to prepare for the first flight on 20 July 2021.
Another influential space industry businessman is Elon Musk, who created SpaceX, a game-changer aerospace manufacturer, that became a first private company to bring humans to the International Space Station. Upcoming ambitious projects include cargo and crew missions to Mars in 2024 and 2026 respectively. By 2050, Musk plans to establish a self-sustaining city, where 1 million people can live.
While Bezos and Musk work on missions for the future of humanity, Richard Branson, the world famous entrepreneur, aims to pioneer the space tourism industry. On 11 July 2021, Virgin Galactic plans to launch Richard Branson into space, aiming to beat Jeff Bezos. Branson aims to provide everyone with an opportunity to experience zero gravity and observe the Earth from the space by starting commercial space flights in 2022.
Active involvement of private investors in space exploration extends the space ecosystem and encourages the future development of the space industry. But what is waiting for us out there in the stars? And how the development of the space industry will impact big corporations on Earth?
To succeed in the next fifty years, many businesses will need to combine space romanticism with innovative commercialisation stories. The most prospective space industries, the businesses should focus on to be able to stay on track and gain competitive advantage are:
- Space mining
- Space infrastructure
- Space farming
- Space logistics & orbital transportation
- Space hospitality & travel
By 2040, the space economy revenue is expected to reach approximately 1 Tn USD driven by both existing and futuristic technologies as 3D Printers, High Performance Spaceflight Computing, RASSOR Robot, Delay / Disruption Tolerant Networking, Portable Magnetic Highway, Micro-swimmers, Making Soil for Space Habitats, and Light Bender.
Thirty years ahead - humanity is reaching new horizons and overcoming challenges in the solar system and beyond. Permanent bases on the Moon and Mars, settlements on big asteroids, space-solar powers, greenhouses on humans’ bases on the Moon and Mars, long-haul flights, pinwheel space stations as gateways for space travel, and suborbital and orbital flights - all of these can turn from an exciting future into realistic present for humanity.