We recently sat down with Laurynas Mačiulis on The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast, where we talked about the future of the NewSpace industry. Laurynas is best known for launching Lithuania’s first satellite, which sparked the NewSpace company NanoAvionics. Today, NanoAvionics is one of the largest small satellite mission integrators in the world. But Laurynas Mačiulis didn’t stop there. In 2019 he helped co-found Astrolight, an advanced laser communication system for space, where he remains the CEO. With those credentials it’s easy to see why his thoughts on the future of space are so interesting!
What is the future for space?
There are always people who are pessimistic about investing anything in space, who think they should just make life better on Earth. We don’t need to put in a contradiction, we can do two things together. We can progress in space without sacrificing life on Earth or taking away from progress on Earth. It’s really complimentary.
The philosophical question of ‘What is our future in space?’, even without the worry that something bad would happen here, is always really interesting. Our destiny as a species is actually to go further and explore. We don’t need to stop on Earth, we need to go further. I think that’s our destiny. Space transportation is probably the technology that will have to pave the way for this ability. Exploring whether life exists on other planets is a fascinating question that needs to be answered.
When the space shuttle transportation technology reaches a level where it is affordable, space travel, space tourism, asteroid mining, building hotels in space, and maybe some remote colonies in other space stations and other planets is going to happen. When that happens, the other stepping stone will also be how to communicate, because we would need to be in touch. Information is something that connects us. Laser communication will play an important role there to actually enable that.
Do you think people living in space is something that’ll happen in our lifetime?
I definitely think that we would have more of a presence in space. It’s my dream to see people landing on Mars. That would be a very important milestone in our evolution as a species. Even such simple things like giving ordinary people the chance to see from space would be a fantastic achievement, because I would compare it with the moments in our history where part of our civilization went to the other lands. There were some bad things that happened with that, but there were also a lot of good things where new ideas emerged. We could also see some very interesting developments from societies living in space and maybe coming up with better ways to organise society. The fragile connection that we have between space and earth is the transformational feeling that astronauts are always talking when they see Earth. Imagine if everybody could feel that, I think that could change our whole attitude to life. Fundamentally, I’m quite optimistic about space travel. It’s not just for a million years’ time, it’s definitely the goal for my lifetime.
To hear more about the work that Laurynas is doing to advance the NewSpace industry, tune into the full episode of The Satellite & NewSpace Podcast here.
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