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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

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.