Accessibility is a key issue in the NewSpace industry. With a number of different applications for satellite technology, there is an increasing focus on enabling smaller players to enter the sector and access the NewSpace sector. On Episode 20 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we spoke to Nathan Monster, the CEO and Founder of A-SpaX (which means Affordable Space Access), about the company’s aims to make the opportunities that space offers accessible to as many people as possible. They offer an end to end service that spans from pre launch to delivery. Nathan also shared how we can improve accessibility as an industry.
What’s been the biggest change in the industry that has made space more accessible to date?
Access to space has improved with the transportation from Earth to low Earth orbit. There are more frequent launches going into orbit from more commercial companies who have developed their own launchers that go through to space. There are hundreds of rocket companies now. There has been a lot of investment in the space industry too, particularly going into launchers. I’m hoping that now that we’ve gotten into space people will start to think about the return. Questions like ‘While you’re in orbit, what are you going to do there?’ are really important. For me the answer is production and bringing the results back to people on earth.
What has enabled accessibility more, small satellite launches or rideshare opportunities?
It’s a complex situation because of the amount of investment that has occurred. So many commercial companies now have the chance to create a difficult transportation system, launch things and reach orbit. That should be a good thing, but it often goes wrong. Having all this competition does bring down the cost and enable a lot of commercial activity, which makes the industry more accessible, but there are downsides too. It’s the investment itself that has created more accessibility rather than rideshares or launches, but I’m interested to see which method will continue to grow accessibility in the space.
What are the barriers to accessibility and what needs to be done to remove them?
The biggest barrier is making sure a rocket is safe and in a good state. All these commercial companies need to have systems and checks in place to make sure they’re successful. As an industry we need to support these companies so that they have the chance to reach a certain point where these protocols are in order and their systems can mature. That requires quite a lot of capital, and there will be failures along the way, but we need to expect and allow that. We need to keep backing them until they’ve built a protocol to make sure that everything is ready before the launch and is done in a proper order.
To learn more about accessibility in space, tune into The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here.
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