Space is More Than Rockets and Satellites
We have broken down the 'New Space' sector into 4 primary areas to help founders visualise potential new value and supply chains. This can loosely be thought of as a ‘space stack’. Below we've included some examples on what these layers include.
- Space infrastructure
- Spacecraft Verticalization
- Remote Sensing and Earth Observation
- Off-Earth Research and Development
Solutions in this space address the enabling of physical infrastructure required to access and utilise space. Some examples are:
- Rocket engine and propulsion technology innovation
- Access to orbit
- Rocket operators and launch providers
- Launch brokers
- Legal and regulatory assistance
- Government licencing
- Radiocommunications and RF spectrum access and licencing
- Insurance and underwriting of space activities
- Telecommunications and ground station access
- Ground station set up
- Virtual ground station networks and brokerage
Spacecraft is any technology designed to travel into and through outer space, such as rockets, satellites or space stations. Traditionally spacecraft have been designed meticulously and for single use missions and applications from the ground up. Today, we are experiencing a shift from this method of developing space craft towards standardised platforms and modular subsystem design. The emergence of generalised commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) Cubesat subsystems and payloads are an example of this. As the implementation of individually procured subsystems becomes closer to plug-and-play, satellite operators and builders need less specialised experience in the deeper workings of the technology. Imagine if smartphone app developers needed to design their own smartphones to sell as well!
Satellite payloads might include the following:
- Optical and hyperspectral
- Synthetic aperture radar
- Thermal imaging
- GPS and radio occulation
Remote Sensing and Earth Observation
New space companies no longer need to design, launch and operate their own satellites in order to obtain valuable data for processing into useful information. Today it is possible to source public and commercially sourced data from satellite operators up the supply chain for businesses seeking to solve Big Data problems in the areas of agriculture, defence and intelligence, finance and economics, environmental monitoring, mining, maritime activity, industrial supply chain analytics, and many more of our major economic sectors.
Using machine learning and statistical analysis techniques it is possible to draw highly valuable information and to gain insights into operations back on earth, using data already collected by satellite operators.
Off-Earth Research and Development
This is the top-most level of our 'space stack', where projects start to resemble what was once thought of as science fiction!
- Commercial space stations
- Off-Earth automation such as asteroid mining and advanced materials manufacturing
- Human space exploration technologies
- Space suits
- Space based medicine, psychology, etc.
- Microgravity based R&D such as protein crystalisation and tissue bioengineering in orbit
- High speed inter-planetary connectivity