Beyond Cosmos: Space Startups

Earth-bound businesses, industries, and investors increasingly look for space to do business, compete, and invest. The continuous growth of the space economy is dependent on space enterprises showing their relevance to non-space organizations and pushing beyond existing industrial startups relationships and government contract money. 

Space Startups 

Many executives, analysts, and investors believe that the boom is partly fueled by improvements that have made it affordable for private enterprises, not just nations, to develop space technology and launch things into space. 

Startups not only have easier access to capital, but they also have easier access to technology. The availability of (relatively cheap) off-the-shelf components for satellites and associated infrastructure is one of the drivers of the commercial space sector. This is made possible, among other things, by platforms such as the satsearch digital marketplace, which was not available even five years ago. 

The pandemic has demonstrated that digital platforms have much to offer to developing and maturing sectors such as the space industry, from utility management to rocket scientific research. In 2021, satsearch generated hundreds of millions of Euros in business prospects for suppliers, assisting the market in staying on track despite considerable constraints and delays on travel, in-person meetings, conferences, and even some aspects of manufacture, testing, and launch. 

Technological Advancements Drive Cost Reduction

The development of new technologies, such as reusable launch vehicles, SmallSats (spacecraft of low mass and size, typically weighing less than 2,600 pounds), and CubeSats (square-shaped miniature satellites), has been a major driver of expansion in the space startups sector. Innovation has reduced the cost of developing new space technologies and launching payloads into space, allowing a broader range of enterprises to participate in the space sector.  

SmallSats and CubeSats have piqued the interest of private companies and government agencies in investing in this field, because they enable more affordable access to space and new business models, such as constellations (a group of satellites working together as a system with shared control). Small satellites accounted for approximately 95% of spacecraft launched in 2022. 

In the coming years, satellite constellations are also expected to propel the space market. As a result, demand for satellite integration, components, and launch vehicles may rise. In contrast to a single satellite, satellite constellations can provide global or near-global coverage, with at least one satellite available at all times and from any location on Earth. To meet increasing demand produced by reduced prices, launch service providers would need to raise both manufacturing and launch rates. 

Bottom Line 

The space industry startups is booming. Initially a government initiative, space is now primarily driven by the commercial sector. Morgan Stanley believes that the global space business could earn more than $1 trillion in revenue by 2040, up from $350 billion in 2021, with satellite broadband Internet access providing the most substantial short- and medium-term prospects. It is a trillion-dollar industry that will signal the start of a new frontier and commercial era that will preset endless potential and opportunities.