Understanding the dynamics behind why space economy has been trending over the last few years is quite crucial yet very complicated to understand and assimilate. We should firstly define what is happening behind the scenes for countries to intensify their investigation, funding and missions to occupy a space in the ¨Space Economy¨?
According to the world economic forum report for 2017, the space economy plan for 2030 is predicted to make strides in technological discoveries to serve mankind and while simultaneously, re-generating employment, investments and tourism opportunities, needless to mention, how this could give us aspirations to slowdown environmental degradation and increase sustainability of resources. In this case, could we be exploring the space economy for additional resources?
In fact, space economists and analysts have a clear vision about the marvels that the space economy could introduce to our world, however, they are still skeptical about how far the space economy plan would proceed. Amazon has just recently launched its Kuiper project to provide board internet access around the globe through 3,000 satellites and similarly but at a bigger scale, SpaceX is launching Starlink to release 12,000 satellites into the low earth orbit and many more initiatives will follow.
The recent launches and interest of countries such as India´s lunar pole mission and Luxembourg´s funds to invest in space start-ups, tells us the story of a changing business model in space. It seems that based on pure economic intuition that not only will there be higher marginal benefits that could be driven out of the space economy business model, but rather that the marginal costs have gone down.
An interview conducted with Sinéad O’Sullivan; an entrepreneurship fellow at Harvard Business School clearly emphasized that the cost of launching one kilogram in space has almost gone down 20 times to reach $2,500 which has paved the way for many private investors and venture capitalists to access space as it’s no longer exclusive to governmental space agencies as it was previously. In fact, investments have reached a point where there are fears that we won’t be able to find space in space.
The questions that remain unanswered here are quite important and worthy of being addressed. Will there be specific rules and policies to govern the access to space and ensure the security and harmlessness of all those satellites installed in space; carrying tons of data? The second question is about expanding the uses of space economy and will it be confined to speeding up technological and telecommunication advancements on earth? Finally, do we stand a chance of sending touristic missions to stay in space and expand the space economy?
By Dr. Esmat Kamel