by Robert Feierbach, CEO of 0-G Launch
I have recently heard comments from a few colleagues that our Space industry is stagnating, that the general public does not care about Space, and that the persistent COVID-19 pandemic will put many of our companies out of business. I COULDN’T DISAGREE MORE!
Never during my 30-year career in Space have I seen the level of consumer awareness, general excitement, technology innovation, venture capital participation, and number of companies involved in our industry, as I have seen during these past 5 years. We are creating ground-breaking space-related platforms, infrastructure and innovative services on Earth, like we have never seen before, and the consumer is well aware of these. If you don’t believe me, let me list just a few recent data sniplets to prove my point:
- NASA has 41 million Twitter followers today
- Elon Musk has 39 million Twitter followers, and the videocam feed @bocachicagal which tracks and films the construction of Starship has nearly 48 thousand followers
- Virgin Galactic is now a publicly traded company with the stock performing very well
- The recently-launched Netflix (Space) series “AWAY” was #1 when released in mid-September
- The recent webinar from SpaceFund on September 23rd had over 100 thousand participants, which crashed its video server
- There are currently over 51 thousand satellites with licensed frequencies granted from the FCC/ITU for companies globally, who intend to launch these vehicles during the next 10 years
If anything, one could say that the appetite for Space participation from industry and the general public has been majestic: With small inexpensive satellites flying in formation in LEO, we are providing data from space-based sensors, which track not only our movements (GPS) and provide thousands of location-based apps on our smartphones, but optical and radar imagery with layers of data analytics, which can be ordered (tasked) from multiple providers worldwide. We are able to routinely and cost-effectively launch, land and relaunch the same (used) rockets to carry multiple payloads to orbit -an unthinkable model just 10 years ago. A couple of ventures are even working on offering direct connections to satellites with your existing smartphones -no modem or special antenna required!
In short: There is no lack of innovation and involvement in the Space industry today. Our Space industry growth from our current ~$600B to a $1+ Trillion economy is all but assured during the next two decades, and I, for one, cannot wait to see what products and services we will continue creating to benefit those of us here on Earth. All this is happening today because….SPACE IS COOL!
Robert Feierbach has been a Space industry leader for nearly 30 years. He is also Co-Founder and CEO of 0-G Launch, a Washington DC-based aerospace venture designed to provide innovative global spaceflight support services to the industry. The company is currently in stealth mode during its fund-raising and technical development activities.