The Future Trends Forum presented its 31st report on innovation trends that will shape the near future. In this case, it focuses on space commercialization opportunities. Technological development is enabling a new commercialization of space. The experts of the Future Trends Forum, the Bankinter Innovation Foundation think tank, have analyzed the opportunities and threats of […]
The Future Trends Forum presented its 31st report on innovation trends that will shape the near future. In this case, it focuses on space commercialization opportunities.
Technological development is enabling a new commercialization of space. The experts of the Future Trends Forum, the Bankinter Innovation Foundation think tank, have analyzed the opportunities and threats of this trend. The conclusions of the analysis were presented at a conference in Madrid, during which the role of Spanish companies in the commercialization of space was discussed in particular.
Since the mid 20th century, the great economic powers have dabbled in outer space. Now, private industrial development adds to those public endeavors. The private players mainly work with rockets (that basically take any payload to space), satellites and control systems for all activities. At the moment, the main applications of the space industry are:
- Manufacture: manufacturing products in orbit
- Research: pursuing technical and scientific research in outer space
- Observation: observing the Earth’s behavior and behaviors on Earth
- Communications: enabling connectivity and communications on Earth
- Defense: warranting security on Earth from space
- Mining: extracting new materials from space
- Exploring: exploring the limits of the known space
- Pharmacy: creating new drugs in space
- Space tourism
- Shuttles: creating new ways of accessing outer space.
Space Commercialization Opportunities
Based on the development of these applications going forward, the Future Trends Forum experts have identified the five most feasible opportunities in space commercialization going forward:
1. LEO market. Creating a market in the lower Earth orbit to develop commercial activities such as space tourism or advertising.
2. Automated space manufacturing of products with different features from products made on Earth.
3. Global connectivity, satellites that offer full connectivity and coverage on Earth.
4. Access to space, enabling individuals, institutions, or corporations to develop their projects on space.
5. Mining the data obtained in space, as they may be useful for decision-making on Earth.
A Trend Facing New Challenges
Space commercialization offers several opportunities. However, its implementation also faces risks: legal risks due to the regulatory needs, organizational risks to structure activity on space, business risks that organizations wanting access to outer space must face, and security risks, namely cybersecurity.
The Future Trends Forum experts have identified the main challenges that space commercialization is facing regarding:
- The development of business models that leverage the main opportunities brought about by space commercialization: the LEO market, manufacturing in space, global connectivity, access to space and data mining.
- Coordinating the players in space commercialization, the private sector must lead going forward, together with space agencies and enabled by governments.
- Mitigating the risks of this trend, insisting on the need for regulation and security in space commercialization.
- Consolidating financing and investment in space commercialization, guaranteeing, and encouraging private investments.
Spain is a visible player in outer space, its business volume has doubled over the last 10 years. Spain has got the capacity and the talent to leverage opportunities in space commercialization.