Challenges in Space Commercialization
The arrival of “Space 4.0” will lead to multiple challenges and a paradigm shift in our understanding of space. Those of us who want to work in space commercialization should take the following into account:
-We must try to create a space value chain and reduce the costs of space access. Those seeking to exploit the market must work towards developing a wide array of accessible infrastructure that allows us to create space businesses. The goal is to create products and services that allow us to build the space industry.
-Therefore, it is mandatory that we be disruptors and promote innovation. We need to push traditional companies to adapt to this new model.
-We cannot forget that a viable business model is necessary, even if it is just for the long term.
The idea is that we significantly lower the price of space systems in a number of ways: reducing the cost of launchers, leveraging economies of scale by launching constellations instead of individual satellites and making progress in standardization, reducing the weight of satellites and their consumption as well as reformulating the design and manufacturing processes through reduced production cycles.
Regulators need to–at the very least–eliminate unnecessary barriers, even though their ideal goal should be to support the development of the space industry by ensuring stability, supporting innovation and promoting the creation of a talent base.
Charles Bolden also thinks it is essential that NASA maintain its headship because the administrator of this agency is the unofficial leader of the remaining space agencies.
Companies and organizations that already work in space commercialization must be able to adapt to changes while maintaining necessary profit margins. Therefore, they must support innovation and somehow convey the interesting things they’re doing to try to attract talent. They have an edge because their financial resources allow them to acquire other companies that do interesting things; yet it is essential that they ensure that these companies’ talent and know-how survive the acquisition. They also need to make an effort in terms of lowering prices so they attract an increasing number of clients. They must adapt to these clients' demands, present customer-centric business strategies and identify new opportunities.
Spain has a business volume of about €800 million; this figure has doubled in the last ten years. The business network employs near 3,500 technicians.
What is Spain’s role in the new era of space commercialization? How can Spanish companies seize opportunities in this new industry?
Space activities generate roughly 260 billion dollars annually. According to estimates from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, by 2045, investment in space will increase eightfold and reach 2.7 trillion dollars. It is also estimated that between June 2017 and June 2018 private investors provided the space industry with around 3.4 billion dollars; this investment is only expected to grow.
How can we fund space commercialization? How can governments promote and guarantee private investment in space?
Risk of Commercialization of Space
There are still many things to consider in space commercialization, particularly regarding global risks of its development from multiple standpoints: legal, regulatory, corporate, organizational and in terms of cybersecurity.
What will be the global regulation for space businesses? Who should regulate them? Who should organize them? How can we make sure that space businesses are safe?
So far, governments and space agencies were the leaders in the space industry, but as a result of new business opportunities, companies must now take the lead.
How should governments facilitate access to space for private companies? What is the new role of space agencies?
Currently, the space industry is being developed in several fields, but the Future Trends Forum experts have agreed that new business opportunities will arise in the sustainable market in the low Earth orbit: manufacturing in space, global Internet connectivity via satellite, democratization of access to space and use of data obtained through satellites.
What will be the business models that will capitalize on these new business areas?