Space Travel Is a Sexy, Emerging Industry

I was three years old when Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins blasted off on the Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969, walked around on the moon for three hours, conducted experiments, placed a U.S. flag and a sign on the moon, and returned safety to earth.

From its very first days, space exploration has been a highly visible, but strictly confidential, endeavor funded by various government agencies. Fifty-eight years after NASA was founded, space exploration still has the power to captivate and inspire. Whether your metric is in the box office haul of blockbusters like “Gravity” and “the Martian”, or the millions upon millions of times the first clear images of Pluto got shared on Facebook this past July, you can see clearly that interest in space exploration remains high among the public at large–and that is presenting exciting and potentially lucrative opportunities for the private sector.

We have entered a new period where space exploration is no longer the sole province of government. The “Final Frontier” is now being explored by private firms, and technology companies have made space travel sexy with a number of futuristic visionaries vying for market share and bragging rights. Companies are planning commercial rides to space as early as next year; a consortium of visionary business leaders are developing the technologies to mine asteroids for the enormous wealth of raw materials in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter; and companies are using super-accurate GPS on rocket boosters to land at a specific point on earth to be reused and repurposed for future missions.

Earlier this month, I was invited to attend the launch of Falcon 9/Jason 3. This mission is a collaboration of 5 different space agencies around the world, with the objective of measuring the sea —> Read More