Space travel: laying the ground for a new industrial revolution
Space travel has lately been facing a rather fast development generated mainly by the economy’s private sector. The commercial exploitation of the extraterrestrial environment creates many opportunities that governments along with aerospace or defense industries haven’t seemed eager so far, to take advantage of.
Space tourism appears to be a very promising venture for the upcoming years in addition to other related activities such as in situ research, manufacturing, and even the colonization of planets like Mars. However, which exactly can be the benefits of the expected growth of this field? Quite a few to begin with, and this article numbers them in detail. So, keep on reading to gain extra insight.
The late changes regarding space travel technology
Getting off the earth and entering the galactic world is no longer a privilege that belongs to NASA or other national space entities of the kind. Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson dared to enter the field and launched their own spaceships. Before them, big telecommunication companies designed and placed their satellites up, beyond the sky’s borders, making communications faster and easier and sending valuable information to humans on earth.
Technology’s rapid evolution in the meantime boosted innovation even more and led to dramatic cost reductions resulting in less expensive and thus more affordable extraterrestrial missions. New entrepreneurs took notice of that and decided to seize the opportunity of getting into the business while investors were also allured by the chances this expansion promised and went into funding the sector with eagerness. Based on data from Space Foundation, a non-profit organization involved with the exploration of the whole space ecosystem, the sector’s economy was valued at $469 billion in 2021, with that number expected to grow more in 2022 and beyond.
How the space travel industry creates a domino effect
The growth that is occurring currently regarding space tourism is not one-sided. It creates a so-called chain reaction that affects accordingly other sectors like pharmaceuticals, agriculture, construction, manufacturing, civil protection, R&D, etc.
If traveling to our galaxy is becoming easier and cheaper, then the thought of expanding several other activities in orbit can become as well achievable and worth pursuing. The same goes for making the most of what extraterrestrial territory has to offer for the benefit of the earth’s inhabitants.
More emissions at a lower cost
Low-Earth orbit heavy launch costs have dropped to $1.500/kg in 2021 marking an outstanding decrease considering that they were about $65.000/kg a few years ago. This gap is already permitting more launches to take place at a lower cost plus making the manufacturing materials viable and reusable. Which, in turn, creates economies of scale and expands space exploration.
Huger funding incubates growth
Innovation needs resources to bloom. The commercial space trips industry has tempted investors to put their money into relevant and complimentary ventures thus expanding the funding of the aerospace field and so permitting newcomers to enter and take action. It is estimated that private financing will exceed government funding within the next two decades resulting in public-private collaborations within a win-win scenario.
Space “traffic” brings more and better satellites
Satellites are our eyes up there and if we are going to visit Mars, or Moon often we need more information on what is happening out there. The cost reductions along with the technology’s evolution mentioned earlier have affected the satellite market as well. More satellites are now being sent, the majority of which come from private companies. They are not only cheaper but smaller and more functional so enhancing in that way their performance and making their accumulated data more precise and valuable.
New space projects are being developed
Space travel options are bringing also into the scene new use cases; use cases that can be categorized mainly into two types: space-for-earth and space-for-space use cases.
Space-for-earth use cases
These applications refer to further exploitation, beyond space travel, for a better living here on earth. Wherever your internet provider fails to provide you with a web connection your space-located satellite will succeed. Whenever your local observatories can’t give you accurate weather forecasts or land cultivating appropriateness your extraterrestrial-based sensors will do the work. In addition, nutrition-relevant research done in orbit can lead to beneficial results that can be used in agriculture and food processing to improve plant-based and livestock-based goods on earth.
Space-for-space use cases
The other side of the coin is space-for-space use cases. These refer to applications that use the space environment for its sake and may include projects regarding construction and manufacturing, research and development, and even colonization of extraterrestrial bodies. Setting up a rocket for instance can be done in a station out there and not in a factory based on earth.
In addition, having a place to stay when reaching Mars can give a boost to the construction field either in the form of hotels or even houses for the ones that plan to live and work away from planet earth. What’s more, pharmaceutical or cosmetic companies can make their tests in a distinct environment and extract valuable information.
Space travel and making it approachable for humans will have a multi-level impact on many other economic sectors in the long run. Companies and entrepreneurs with vision are already weighing the pros and cons of engaging with the space travel field in every way to create added value for the people here on earth either by producing new products, methods, or services.
If they use their resources wisely, promote innovation, and take advantage of what the constantly evolving technology has to offer will probably achieve and turn what used to be the domain of a minority to be a reachable one for many. And human society will not only take space trips and go on vacations on Mars but will benefit from many other developments at every level possible.
Having that in mind, expectations can rise very high. Will they be met? Time will show.