The Scope of the Space Sector from Earth to Beyond
Over the next decade, the space industry is set to take off. The space industry has grown to approximately $447 billion and has the potential to grow to $1 trillion by 2030. Space impacts every part of our lives here on earth. In fact, it has been a powerful incubator for innovation for governments, large telcos, and multiple private companies. A lot of sectors benefit from space innovation, from communications and infrastructure to agriculture and biometrics. Let’s look at some of the industries where the space sector is beneficial.
Farmers are able to track rainfall, snow coverage, and soil conditions through satellites and Earth Observation Technologies (EOTs). Advanced rainfall-tracking technologies enabled by space-related technologies allow farmers to plan irrigation, planting, and harvest to yield the most efficient crop.
The use of hydroponics by the International Space Station (ISS) has inspired vertical farming systems to apply the same principles. Vertical farming is beneficial in urban areas where traditional farming practices cannot be applied.
Environmental Assessment and Monitoring
In-depth satellite imaging helps track weather patterns like rain or snow and analyze climate change information. It monitors the effects of climate change on the environment, which helps authorities make informed decisions on how to mitigate or adapt to the impacts of climate change. With satellite imaging’s accurate snapshot of the environment, we can ensure that the environment is more protected and managed through more precise monitoring and management of resources.
Satellites have the power to transfer sensitive data, which makes them a potential target for hackers or malicious actors. There can be detrimental effects once a satellite is hacked, from interruptions of modern communications to business disruptions.
Thankfully, companies and governments are now determining ways to combat cybersecurity threats to space equipment, software, and communications. For instance, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the United States introduced a reference document that tackles an introduction to cybersecurity for commercial satellite operations.
The partnership between robotic technology and the space industry brings several benefits. The Mars Exploration Rovers, for example, have yielded immense educational results. NASA has sent five robotic vehicles to Mars, which are named Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity, Curiosity, and Perseverance. With their distinctive specialties, scientists were able to dig deeper into the different parts of the planet. These robotics helped scientists study rocks, capture detailed pictures and videos, and find possible signs of life on the Red Planet.
Humanity has been using biotechnology in medicine, food production, and agriculture. This broad area of biology is also beneficial for advancement in space. Biotechnology is essential in creating self-sustaining life support systems to prepare for long-duration space missions. It allows the manipulation of living organisms for a better quality of life. For instance, an Israeli biotech company, Pluri, has been developing treatments based on placental cells to treat different types of diseases. Prolonged space missions can cause inflammatory reactions and muscle and bone wasting due to radiation. Pluri is now collaborating with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to test these cell therapies to check their effectiveness for space travel.
Discover the interconnection of space with various other sectors at SPEXA
April 24 (Wed.)–26 (Fri.), 2024 | Tokyo Big Sight, Japan
There have been talks about the potential for commercial hospitality opportunities since people may be able to travel to space without any background in aeronautics. The Orbital Assembly Group, for example, has announced its plans to launch the first ever hotel in space. Two space hotels are said to be in the works. They would accommodate not just intergalactic travellers but also serve as a suitable space for business, manufacturing, and research.
Advanced materials technology can also be applied in space. The Protective Coating for Ceramic Materials (PCCM) produced by researchers from NASA’s Ames Research Center, for instance, enables low-cost space access for advanced exploration vehicles.
While the technology was originally intended to coat the heat shields of space vehicles, ongoing tests show that the coating could also be effective on other materials. PCCM was modified to be applicable as a spray so that it could adhere to metal and expand its potential uses. Emisshield was the first to apply PCCM to coat building materials for firewall applications.
Data security is paramount when it comes to banking and finance. Because of this, financial institutions have been exploring the use of satellites to swiftly and securely send and receive money around the world. When the European Space Agency (ESA) launched "SPOT" in 1999, it made the first satellite payment. Today, several companies have been developing technologies pertaining to satellite payments. Satellite communications offer quick and reliable data transfer services with minimal disruption and risk of interception. They can transmit multiple data streams simultaneously and also track the location and status of data in real-time.
According to Northern Sky Research, we can expect 5.2 billion gigabytes of cloud data traffic to be delivered via satellite by 2029. Because of this, the adoption of cloud computing for satellite services has already been explored. Satellites capture hundreds of terabytes of data every day. The most common use for satellite data is earth observation.
For example, Synthetic-Aperture Radar (SAR) technology is being used to help governments and organizations decide how to act in connection with natural catastrophes and crimes.
The closest connections we have to artificial intelligence (AI) are Siri or Alexa. In space, AI helps astronauts accomplish challenging tasks. AI also processes data, prevents collisions in Earth’s lower orbit, and gives us information that benefits things on Earth, like GPS systems. Steve Isakowitz, CEO of The Aerospace Corporation, believes that AI can make satellites more self-sufficient and safer from potential collisions with other spacecraft. Isakowitz also adds that hyper-intelligent satellites will become commonplace. With the help of AI, satellites can be instructed on what to look for, work together in clusters, and recognize when a component of their infrastructure is failing.
Space and other industries are intricately intertwined
The civil, national security, and commercial sectors have their own goals and assets. But all of them rely on a common ground, and that is space. Space applications hold significant importance in our everyday lives, from gathering data to knowing how to adapt to climate change.
Dive deep into the applications of space through SPEXA
Get a comprehensive understanding of the vastness of the space field by being a part of SPEXA, or the Space Business Expo. Organized by RX Japan, SPEXA is poised to become the global business center hub that will bring together companies and professionals in the space industry and various sectors. It will showcase solutions in the areas of outer space utilization, satellite data utilization, infrastructure, development and manufacturing, and other space-related services.
April 24 (Wed.)–26 (Fri.), 2024 | Tokyo Big Sight, Japan