SpaceCom is all about the business opportunities created by the development of an international space economy which embraces three main sectors.
- The applications of space enabled services derived largely from satellites to terrestrial industries. Mainly communications, global positioning and increasingly earth observation as a business tool.
- Commercial business transactions in sub-orbital and low Earth orbit environments. Still in a nascent stage but evolving rapidly for in-space manufacturing, medical testing and development, space tourism and eventually solar energy capture.
- Commercial services and production capability in, on and around the Moon. As we establish a sustainable human presence on the lunar surface, increasingly numerous activities will require business transactions.
Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, and many others have suggested that this international economy could reach over a trillion dollars within 20 years. Thereby creating many jobs on an international scale and certainly profits for those companies and countries engaged in the sectors described above.
Space is a hostile environment with many risks. Obviously, limiting the number of risks can only help and facilitate this economy’s growth. Investment capital, the lifeblood of any economy, flows more readily when risk is low, and return is high!
An essential element to the success of all these activities will be an international understanding of the “rules of the road”, similar to what exists for air, sea, land and communications today. These “rules” though have taken some considerable time, (many, many years), negotiation, flexibility and patience to develop and that has been when all sides have been acting in good faith!
Bad actors will eventually act as the “pirates” of this new economy and having some method for all stakeholders to have their assets and activities protected makes sense. How that should be done is a very complex problem.
The new Space Force being created is an interesting idea, but one thing has emerged very clearly and that is the use by the military of commercial services for everything from earth observation to communications in an increasing way. As such, SpaceCom is a place where these opportunities can be discussed as well.
Care should be taken to not appear to over militarize space. This may tend to hamper the flow of investment and potentially stifle and/or limit the pace of growth of this exciting new economy.
Executive Director of SpaceCom