Space startups have revolutionized the business model for the modern rocket company. They are bringing new space technologies to the table to help the sector continue to rise.
Looking at the space industry today, it seems that milestones are being passed everywhere we turn. China has been quietly building up its space program, with the result that Chinese astronauts have gone to the Moon. Elsewhere, billionaire rocket company owners are personally taking to space onboard crewed missions with their own space companies. Even the traditional government space agencies are pursuing a range of ambitious mission schedules, including NASA’s Artemis program that will put astronauts back on the Moon. Elsewhere, space startups are appearing to provide more boutique launch solutions to clients that are marked by their versatility and precision. The UK space industry is brimming with the kind of rocket companies that can generate new innovations and help spur economic growth.
Even as the Earth has been rocked by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, growth in the space sector has proved unstoppable. It appears that there’s never been a better time to start a rocket company, as investors line up for an opportunity in the new space gold rush. Known as Space 2.0, the modern space industry is characterized by the agility and risk-taking most commonly associated with tech startups. It’s no surprise, then, that innovation from these space startups is blossoming at an exponential rate. Here are some that may well help redefine our ideas about the potential for space solutions to help meet challenges down here on Earth.
It seems likely that climate change is increasing the frequency of certain natural disasters, especially wildfires that can rapidly spread out of control and sweep across acres of land in a matter of hours. As shown by the wildfires afflicting California and Australia, these disasters are only becoming deadlier as time goes on. Fortunately, a potent new tool has emerged to help emergency services coordinate their response in such situations. Non-geostationary satellites afford fast and reliable communication across massive areas of land that are helping rescue teams respond to disasters with agility. These small satellites that mainly inhabit low Earth orbit (LEO) and medium Earth orbit (MEO) are also immune to the causes of a network outage that can threaten conventional communication infrastructure.
3D PRINTING IN ROCKET COMPANY MANUFACTURE
3D printing technologies are going to prove to be a positive disruption across many different industries, but it seems they will make a particular mark on space engineering. It’s increasingly common to find a rocket company using 3D printing to handle a larger share of the manufacturing processes for their craft. From an engineering perspective, 3D printing can offer more freedom in designing rockets and keeping down weight, thereby reducing the kilo to cost ratio of launching a rocket. The rocket company can then pass on these savings to their clients, saving them money on sending their payloads into space.
Satellite imagery has long been employed by militaries and in industries like logistics to provide imagery that analysts can sift through for valuable data. However, this concept is being radically transformed by developments in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). Now it is possible for clients in a range of industries to tap into the power of new space technologies to provide unique insights with unparalleled scope and accuracy.
Take agriculture as an example. A farmer can now exploit multispectral satellite imaging to monitor the health markers of his crops, such as carbon and moisture levels in their soil. Smart analytics can then process the imagery to quickly provide the most relevant data that the farmer can integrate into their future crop modeling. Not only will the farmer be able to quickly access relevant information about conditions on their land, but they will also save time and money on conducting regular manual inspections of their land. This combination of geospatial satellite monitoring and smart analytics can prove useful in many other fields, like tracking economic activity or monitoring the movement of refugees in a disaster.
These are just some of the technologies that are proving influential in the development of modern space exploration. “Space 2.0” has seen the space industry revolutionized by the innovation of the modern rocket company that has rapidly outpaced the old oligarchy of national space industries that defined the space races of the last decade. The sector is projected to enjoy sustained global growth for decades to come, as it seems that, even today, we are just scratching the surface of what space technology is capable of. Is there a rocket company working on an innovation that you’re particularly excited about? Let us know about your favorite space innovations in the comments section below.
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