News / Economy

Future for Commercial Space Endeavors Looks Bright

Future for Commercial Space Endeavors Looks Brighti
X
January 11, 2014 1:31 AM
Space - the final frontier. Once the purview of cash-rich governments, launching rockets into space has become increasingly commonplace as demand for communications satellites and space-based imaging services grow. Today, space is a $200 billion a year industry - an example of how partnerships between government and the private sector are helping to lower costs - and in the process - expand our understanding of the world. Mil Arcega has more.
Space — the final frontier.

Once the purview of cash-rich governments, launching rockets into space has become increasingly commonplace as demand for communications satellites and space-based imaging services grow. Today, space is a $200 billion a year industry, an example of how partnerships between government and the private sector are helping to lower costs — and in the process expand our understanding of the world.

As the year begins the business of space looks bright — booming, in fact — for U.S.-based Orbital Sciences Corporation, which launched its Antares rocket on Thursday to deliver the first of eight cargo shipments to the International Space Station.

Orbital Sciences is just one of two American firms hired by NASA to deliver supplies to the manned space research outpost orbiting 400 kilometers above earth.

Commercial rocket pioneer Arianespace, which launched its first satellite three decades ago, says 2014 has all the makings of a record year.

Clayton Mowry, who heads the U.S. arm of the private European space consortium, describes the growth as virtually exponential.

“Last year we launched eight times, and we’re looking to actually break our record of 10 launches this year," said Mowry. "We’re hoping, right now, our planning is to conduct 13 launches this year."

Mowry says the increased frequency of rocket launches is driven in part by rising demand for space-based technologies, from ultra-high definition broadcasts to satellite broadband.

And yet, despite the need for more commercial satellites, the end of NASA’s space shuttle program in 2011 has had a dampening effect in the space community.

Janice Starzyk at International Launch Services chairs educational initiatives at the Washington Space Business Roundtable.

“The shuttle program shutting down was a huge, huge set of layoffs in the industry," said Starzyk.

But even as NASA scales back, other countries are rushing to fill the void.

In December, China became the third country to land a spacecraft on the moon, while India launched its first communications satellite earlier this month.

In Denmark, a pair of space enthusiasts are trying to prove space flight can be affordable. Using open source designs and public donations, Kristian Von Bengtson, co-founder of Copenhagen Suborbitals, hopes to fulfill a childhood dream of launching a homemade rocket 100 kilometers into space.

"Everybody believes that space flight, manned space flight, can only be done with billions of dollars and it has to be government financed," said Von Bengtson. "I hope we can show that you can do it on a shoestring budget. You can pretty much do it yourself."

Von Bengtson's goal is to launch a manned rocket into space by 2020.

But according to Starzyk, Space Business Roundtable's goal in 2014 is to encourage more students to consider careers in space.

"Actually, it's a major problem in most countries of getting young people interested in studying engineering, specifically aerospace engineering," she said.

Starzyk says as demand for rocket launches grow, so will demand for fresh talent.

Participation in the organization's space academy program has soared over the last three years, proving once again that when it comes to space, the sky is the limit.

You May Like

Conflicts Engulf Christians in the Middle East

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Surveillance of Phones, Internet

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.