SpaceWatch.Global asked its staff and contributors to review 2019 and provide an outlook into 2020. These personal reviews are being published during the holiday season. This is Joerg Kreisel, CEO at JKIC.
by Joerg Kreisel
2019 was quite a mix for us, both good and surprising, and three developments made our year. First, the overall progress regarding on-orbit servicing (OOS) and active debris removal (ADR) globally, supported by CONFERS and its members, i.e. the launch of MEV-1 as the first-ever commercial OOS mission, and the positive evolutions of e.g. Astroscale Holdings Inc. and iBOSS GmbH. Second, selected new entrants to the commercial space arena – startups and investors – driving changes and new momentum in distinct subsets of the space economy, such as the recent Isar Aerospace Technologies GmbH funding round closing and the innovative approach by SpaceBit – there are many more though! And, third, the remarkable activities and contributions of several space organizations like, for instance, the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) and the International Space University (ISU).
I personally have been awarded Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the largest aerospace association worldwide. Other than that, we are very pleased with the development our portfolio companies HOSTmi GmbH, iBOSS GmbH, VEOWARE Limited, and WxFUSION GmbH in the course of this year.
Last, but not least, some emerging space nations took their ambitions to the next level with promising activities announced. On the downside in 2019 for us were two suboptimal exits and project admin headaches for us and some business we are advising with one national space agency. Moreover, the insolvency of PTScientists GmbH has shaken up the community in Germany this summer, although now re-started as Planetary Transportation Systems GmbH. All in all, the New Space hype continued globally with numerous new investments, startups and missions, and an inflation of related events around the globe involving more and new players and reaching across societies.
2020 will most probably continue to be interesting with more good startups to come and to move forward, more Asian players to enter the scene, and hopefully first tangible exits and (yet overdue) investor returns (even via secondary purchase transactions),while the growth of investment into the sector may continue.
For us, the global evolution of on-orbit servicing, assembly and manufacturing (OSAM), and especially new partnerships and the in-orbit demonstration of our intelligent Space System Interface (iSSI) by iBOSS will be important developments with game-changing potential. In parallel we expect continued new impetus by CONFERS and its members as well as from the European Operational Framework (EOF) by the European Commission.
We are planning to initiate three new activities to be announced in the first half of the year. Nevertheless, we expect a shakeout wave in the New Space arena in the course of 2020 alongside some consolidation in the traditional space industry. However, I am quite optimistic for global space and its journey towards commerce.
Joerg Kreisel (born 1961), is CEO of JKIC since 1991 and is a space commercialisation and finance expert. JKIC is an independent actor in the global space arena focused on space commercialisation, new business creation and early-stage equity finance supporting space industry, startups, space agencies and investors around the planet. With longstanding space technology, sector intelligence and venture capital background Joerg is recognised for unique and instrumental support to numerous activities in the space arena and his proprietary international network. In summary, Joerg is around in the industry for more than 30 years and deals with space finance for more than 25 years, moreover, he currently holds stakes in several space-related startups in different countries.