The space industry In recent years this has been due in large part to the increased cadence and reliability of launch services, and while this market will continue to grow, the new economy made possible by these launches is only just beginning to begin. If you thought the startup boom was big, just wait for it to connect to the private satellite boom.
Experts, business executives, and investors in the space sector agree that the launch deserves an inordinate amount of money and attention, both because it is so attractive and because it was a prerequisite for any type of space economy.
If you thought the startup boom was big, just wait for it to connect to the private satellite boom.
But as we saw last year, and as is expected to be further demonstrated in 2021, the startup industry is moving from investor-subsidized research and development and testing to a full-fledged service economy.
"To date, the startup industry has received 47% of the industry's venture capital despite making up less than 2% of the global space economy," said Meagan Crawford, managing partner at SpaceFund, last week at TC Sessions: Space. "We believe this is a problem that has been resolved or that will be resolved. What we want to know is what the launch makes possible, right? What are the new things that can happen now, the new business models that closed today and not closed three years ago when the launch was not that frequent, reliable and inexpensive? "
This view seems to be shared within the launch industry, even among companies that don't yet need to put a payload into orbit. Their focus is not just on proving that their launcher can do it, but on taking their place in a market with massive supply restrictions (on the homepage) by differentiating and addressing new business models. This is far more than building a working missile.
"It's not just about mass orbit," said Mandy Vaughn, president of VOX Space. "It's about all of these other elements of how can we react quickly? How can we quickly design, produce, and deliver this functionality, possibly in a unique way from an unexpected location? When it comes to the investment landscape, it's not just about that Technology of a rocket, or what your ISP (in-space propulsion) is compared to another rocket. It really is, what is all the vertical infrastructure and business model that go beyond pure mass orbit? "
Tim Ellis, founder and CEO of Relativity Space, which will launch its first fully 3D-printed rocket in 2021, agreed to a conversation we had outside of the conference.
"What we're watching the next thing is not the different launch providers, though it's fun, but how many new satellite companies are coming into orbit," he said. "We are still seeing the market growing faster than launch vehicle makers could keep up."