In space there are no service stations to pull into and get replacement parts for your satellite. Nor is there a towing service if a satellite is in the wrong orbit, a construction contractor to help you build structures, or a “Space Depot” for those who wish to “do-it-themselves” on orbit. In other words, we still operate within a first-generation space industrial enterprise, i.e. all commerce is on Earth, and we only focus on bits (data) coming from monolithic things that go up (i.e., satellites), which eventually die or just come down with no chance of repair or reuse.
Today the commercial space industry focuses exclusively on applications that support launching science, exploration, military, or established earth-bound data communication or delivery services, focusing data to/from space. The lack of technology to support or “markets” to enter has resulted in nebulous, unconsolidated and without-a-critical-mass investment in space-based infrastructure, industrialization, space resources (survey and process maturation) and global utility creation and delivery applications in space. However, all that may finally be changing.
Space applications that are not solely data driven are becoming real. Asteroid mining, fuel depots and commercial space stations are all being actively pursued by companies around the world, as examples of different types of revenue-generating endeavors outside of data-driven end use. These missions and their spacecraft will require greater upkeep, maintenance, repair, and consumable restoration. Consequently, “services” are now being talked about and pursued, executed from one space platform to another. The most talked-about “service” event is providing either consumables (fuel) or failure remediation to satellites on orbit, referred to as “servicing”. However, a handful of companies are seeking to break the shackles that today’s satellites are stuck with at launch, and go well beyond “servicing” into modifying and even constructing new space platforms, on orbit.
Toward that end, companies such as Space Systems Loral, AstroSpace, Shackleton Energy Corporation, and others are all beginning to explore markets outside pure data delivery to Earth. Likewise, companies such as NovaWurks, Arkisys, Tethers Unlimited, and Made in Space either have developed or are in development of technologies and services that will create a true in-space infrastructure to take the next step in this new expansion of space capabilities.
At Space Tech Conference this year, we are taking the first steps to expand the business-to-business enterprise connections that we have successfully encouraged on Earth, to those that will be executed in space itself. Two new panels have been set up to explore and uncover the advent of true space commerce. First, companies that are building these new applications and missions on orbit will present their visions and how they see these new markets playing out. Second, companies that have begun to develop innovative technologies and capabilities that will service these new applications will present how they intend to create a true on-orbit infrastructure. We are really excited to foster and herald those businesses that have the vision and foresight to create what may be the second generation of space infrastructure to launch new markets and applications in space.
Hear more from Dave Barnhart on May 25, when he will be leading the following sessions at Space Tech Conference:
2:00 - 3:30pm
3:50 - 5:30pm
About the author
David Barnhart is CEO of Arkisys Inc. He also holds a Research Professor appointment in the Department of Astronautical Engineering at USC, and is the Director/Co-Founder of the USC Space Engineering Research Center at USC/Information Sciences Institute. David was most recently a Senior Space Project Manager at DARPA, pioneering cellular spacecraft morphologies, satbotics and space robotics on the Phoenix and SeeMe projects. Prior to USC/DARPA, David co-founded and served as Vice President and CFO of Millennium Space Systems, and was the youngest elected member of the three-person international Executive Management board for Vanguard Space. David served as an AF civilian for over 13 years and helped birth several notable projects over that time. David holds a BSc in Aerospace Engineering and an MEng. He has authored over 35 research publications and been a keynote speaker at multiple national and international space conferences on second-generation space architectures.
About Space Tech Expo
America’s meeting place for space and defense technology returns to California for three days of knowledge sharing and networking alongside the largest supply chain exhibition of its kind.
With capabilities ranging from cryogenics, laser systems, materials, nanotechnology, imaging, environmental test, motion simulation, magnetics, capacitors, spacewire, NDT, and connectors through to electroforming, engineering services, precision machining, 3D printers, ground systems, mission management, and reconnaissance satellites, Space Tech Expo 2016 will bring a multitude of networking opportunities through focused receptions and events for attendees and exhibitors throughout the commercial, civil and military space supply chain. http://www.spacetechexpo.com/
Register for a free expo pass here >> https://registration.n200.com/survey/24id37gyd50ty/register
About Space Tech Conference
The Space Tech Conference agenda will examine how military and government organizations can deliver space missions by working closely with the commercial sector to leverage the latest innovative technologies and business models. The conference also takes a deep dive into the rapidly evolving space-to-space market and offers specific sessions examining the plethora of on-orbit services and technologies emerging.
On May 26, Space Tech Expo is delighted to host the free-to-attend Gov/Mil/Prime Requirements Day. The session will be held in the exhibition hall, allowing all attendees to participate and hear the upcoming space supply chain requirements of government and military organizations, as well as major prime contractors.
Key topics for 2016:
• Commercial, defence and new space – the inflection point
• Launch market trends – reusability and affordability
• Simplifying and improving ground systems architecture
• Commercialising new technologies
• Driving innovation with new space players
• Cross-sector collaboration in space situational awareness
• Enabling space-to-space commerce and on-orbit services
Book a conference pass here (prices start at $395) >> http://www.spacetechexpo.com/conference/conference-agenda
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