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The business potential of 'NewSpace'

Posted 1 November 2013 · Add Comment

Steve Nichols examines why public and private organisations are being urged to consider commercial opportunities emanating from what is known as 'NewSpace'.

Delegates attending the 2013 International Space Commerce Summit, held in  London on 29-30 October, heard how public and private bodies are being encouraged  to make the most of opportunities arising from so-called  'NewSpace'.

The term 'NewSpace' is said to have been coined by US-based Deep Space Industries to describe the world of commerce opening up for companies bold enough to enter the 21st Century space race.

These opportunities include space tourism and the need for new spaceports worldwide, the markets opening up for new small satellites and their data, and manned space flight.

Delegates heard presentations and saw displays on a wide range of topics including:
  • SHIPinSPACE - a new space tourism venture (pictured) that could see 44 passengers blast off to travel 268 miles above the earth from 2018
  • The XCOR Lynx - another space tourism project that will see a pilot and passenger head skywards aboard a liquid-fuelled rocket plane, and
  • Astrium's EDRS satellites, which will use optical lasers to pass data from one satellite to another at lightning speeds so getting the information to the ground much faster.
Dan Lewis, Energy Policy Advisor for the Institute of Directors, said that the space industry directly contributes around £1bn to the UK economy, with a further £7bn being contributed through downstream services, such as satellite data. 
He added that the government has bold plans to increase this contribution and should release details of its new British Space Initiative within a couple of months.

"By 2030, we can expect to see real progress in suborbital space technologies in this country and we need to start thinking about where we can locate spaceports," said Lewis.

He said options for spaceport locations currently being considered include areas around Torquay, East Anglia, Kinloss in Scotland, and Wales.

Delegates also heard about how space risks are insured, how space policy and law is drawn up, how companies can attract investors, and how Government bodies, like the UK's Technology Strategy Board, are helping companies enter the industry.

And for the ultimate trip, they also heard how the Mars One project is looking for would-be astronauts to take a one way ticket to colonise the Red Planet from 2023.

Summit chairman, Deep Space Industries' Rick Tumlinson, best summed up the event: "We are at the beginning of a whole new era of space exploration and industry.
"It is happening right now and there is a lot of money to be made for entrepreneurs who are prepared to grasp the opportunities in front of them."
 

 

 

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