What is the Space Economy?

July 30, 2021 4:38 PM

The Space Economy goes beyond tourism and into the areas of production, trade, and commerce for goods and services both familiar and brand new taking place between the Karman line (approximately 100 kilometers overhead) and Cislunar space (the volume between geostationary Earth orbit and the Moon's orbit) creating another world of possibilities for humanity.

Space tourism was created from a combination of Sci-Fi imagination and technological advancement, packaged together by economic incentives.

By George Pullen & Samson Williams

The Space Economy is a $450 Billion ecosystem we all interact with daily. As a matter of fact, you’re probably reading this on a mobile device or internet connection made possible by a satellite in Space. In short, the Space Economy is composed of all the industries (rocket and satellite manufactures, telecommunications, climate change researchers, data and finance experts, Defence, etc…) that come together to create the trillion dollar ecosystem above our heads that make modern day, digital life possible. By the end of the next decade The Space Economy will conservatively be valued at more than $4 Trillion Dollars, US. By some estimates The Space Economy may exceed $10T by the 2040s.

How is this possible? Before we jump into the billions of dollars that go into National Defense annually (the US Space Force’s budget alone for 2021 is $15.2B, not to mention other Super Power’s budgets for Space) and what Global Power means in the Space Race 2.0, let’s consider just Space tourism, as most recently championed by Virgin Galactic’s Sir Richard Branson and Amazon’s and Blue Origin’s Founder, Jeff Bezos.

Space tourism was created from a combination of Sci-Fi imagination and technological advancement, packaged together by economic incentives. Today’s space tourists will lead to tomorrow’s space hotels. Modular construction of space hotels will provide the opportunity for the economies of scale for corporate space stations devoted to cutting edge technological research and production of science and material not possible on Earth. This will unlock Trillions of dollars of economic activity, the equivalent of an eighth content, and one equally as valuable and important. Of course to get to Space hotels we will need entirely new infrastructure for launch, landing and “space traffic control”. These new epicenters of Space travel will be called “Spaceports”. Spaceports are the 22nd century’s version of airports and seaports. Keep your eye out for spaceport Ireland, Maine spaceport and of course spaceport Mumbai, as India will play a critical role in developing the tools, technology and human resources that fuel The Space Economy’s expansion.

The Space Economy goes beyond tourism and into the areas of production, trade, and commerce for goods and services both familiar and brand new taking place between the Karman line (approximately 100 kilometers overhead) and Cislunar space (the volume between geostationary Earth orbit and the Moon’s orbit) creating another world of possibilities for humanity. What does this all mean for you and I? It means that ultimately, when we are discussing The Space Economy what we are truly discussing is the Fifth Industrial Revolution.

It is important to realize that in our current Fourth Industrial Revolution a number of advancements, divisible into four broad areas, are all accelerating at an unprecedented pace. These four broad areas of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are: Yellow, Pearl, Long, and Black. Yellow, emblematic of gold, represents the area of advancement in fintech, digital assets, and new forms of financial and economic structures. Pearl is the area of advancement in robotics, AI, Big Tech, and big data. Long is for longevity and the numerous leaps forward in the field of health and wellness to include progress in genetics but also telehealth and the potential for customized medicine. Last, Black is for the energy revolution that is pushing ahead with new technology in nuclear, solar and advanced batteries. For each of these four pillars of the Fourth Industrial Revolution pathways forward into permanent habitation and expanded exploration of space become not just easier but logical outgrowths of these advancements. And the most interesting leaps forward in technology we can anticipate to occur at the intersection of categories where convergence is likely to lead to unimaginable new products and services.

To understand what will shape The Space Economy it is important to understand the previously mentioned technological advancements coming out of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. These technologies (blockchain, AI, machine learning, robotics, drones, etc…) combined with the demand for Space will continue to evolve not only finance and international / global business but also education and training for 5th Industrial Revolution careers. Hence why Space, aerospace engineering and Space economics will be amongst the fastest growing sectors of this decade. Students like Rohak Shah and Shiv Khakhar from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics in Bombay will leverage their economic and technical expertise with imagination and entrepreneurship to shape the future of Humanity both on Earth and in Space.

In short, The Space Economy is much like the Internet Economy. Everyday we use the internet and enjoy the vast ecosystems, industries, specialities and places it takes us, even though we’ve never actually been to the internet. So too with Space and The Space Economy. While we may never physically go to Space, Humanity’s imagination, curiosity and drive will develop The Space Economy as rapidly and in as many unexpected ways as we did the Internet and its super highways of information, data, and possibilities.

Join us in exploring and discovering our full Human potential in The Space Economy, there is plenty of space for all.

(About the Authors – George Pullen is the Chief Economist of Milky Way Economy, a Fifth Industrial Revolution think tank and boutique consultancy. He is the author of several books related to technology, space and alternative finance. In addition to his role with MWE, the author is an Adj Professor, Visiting Lecturer, and Instructor at Columbia University in NYC, Eisenhower War College, Johns Hopkins, and University of New Hampshire School of Law teaching economics, block chain, alternative markets, and the Space Economy. He can be followed on social @Pullen4Maine.

Samson Williams is a serial entrepreneur and accidental investor. He is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University in NYC and University of New Hampshire School of Law where he teaches on FinTech, crypto currencies and the Space Economy. The author is also President of the Crowd funding Professional Association and investor into two investment crowdfunding platforms Brite.us – Crowdfunding Done Brite and GoingPublic.com. For more information on Samson visit – SamsonWilliams.com and follow him on social @HustleFundBaby. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online.)

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