Startups Rocket To The Front Of The Space Race

Startups Rocket To The Front Of The Space Race

Tim Reyes is a freelance writer residing in Silicon Valley. With degrees in Physics, he has been an engineer for NASA supporting development of flight software of robotic spacecraft to the planet Mars. How to join the network Capitalizing on the falling cost of launch services and the miniaturization of satellites, a new breed of startups are gearing up for the space race under the moniker of NewSpace. At a recent conference in San Jose, Calif., leading figures in this NewSpace movement (a term used to describe the startups that stand in the shadows of space industry giants such as Boeing and Lockheed-Martin) discussed their novel approaches to spaceflight and exploration and discovery. While many in NewSpace have their sights set on lofty dreams of planetary exploration or asteroid mining, the first steps to getting off the planet are completely down to Earth. NewSpace is clearly a decade old but remains a nascent industry. NewSpace Awards Gala honoree Andy Weir, author of “The Martian”. Inset: Matt Damon as the stranded astronaut from the feature film adaptation. The first day keynote speaker was the newly appointed deputy administrator of that National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Dava Newman (known for her work at MIT developing next generation agile, light-weight spacesuits). Newman kicked off a day of presentations that placed NewSpace in the framework of a space exploration industry which is now 50 plus years beyond Sputnik — humanity’s first satellite. In the US, space exploration has been dominated by the government through NASA. In part, this was driven initially by a space race and the development of modern electronics. NewSpace represents a new race, driven by the dreams of a young generation of engineers and enabled by private investors. While NewSpace companies are pursing several different potential markets, asteroid mining is […]