The Future of the Space Industry
The public sector is no longer leading the charge into the final frontier. Over the past few years, hundreds of startup companies have innovated everything from a lunar delivery service to an edge-of-space hot-air-balloon pleasure flight. We are incorporating video game technology into the normalization of satellite navigation. Within the next 20 years, every student could have his or her own personal search satellite. Connecting the limitless opportunities of space to our everyday lives is here. Some of the most exciting innovations in our space industry are yet to come.
Maverick entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson is leading the industry of pleasure flights into space with his Virgin Galactic Rocket. These pleasure flights may begin as early as 2018. Testing has proven that even elderly people who are under the stress of recent surgeries are now able to withstand the pressures of space flight - with the help of cutting edge Virgin Galactic technology, of course.
Virgin Galactic is not the only company that is offering pleasure flights to space. The race is on as Blue Origin plans to send professional testers into space in 2018 and Rocket Lab will launch its testing satellite in 2017.
Similarly, SpaceX announced in early 2017 their goal to send two people around the moon in 2018. The two passengers would not be astronauts, and would instead be wealthy tourists who put down a significant deposit. If SpaceX succeeds, it will be the first private company to take civilians beyond lower Earth orbit.
Mining Space Resources
With casual space travel becoming more of a reality, governments are also beginning to sense the inevitability of expansion. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty is the only space law on the books currently. It states that no country can place a weapon of mass destruction in space or lay a monopoly claim to any resource that it finds in space. Private companies are now lobbying to move capitalism into space, arguing that no country will have the incentive to spend the billions it takes for space R&D unless it can rely on the ROI of the resources it finds.
The logistics of moving resources to and from space are also a cause of great excitement. For example, Thermal Product Solutions has developed a line of products meant to simulate the conditions of space including the Tenney Vacuum Test Chamber. This chamber simulates the vacuum and other environmental properties of space, allowing companies to test conditions and reactions before they send expensive resources into the great beyond. Test chambers will play a critical role in space travel R&D procedures. They will help companies verify the integrity of loads before shooting them into the stars.