Space Tech Companies Charting the Final Frontier
Posted on 28th June 2017 in Business
Written by James Marren
“Space: The Final Frontier.” To coincide with #WorldAsteroidDay we are shining a light on companies that have decided to “Boldly go where no one has gone before.” They represent the very definition of the human spirit, pushing forward into uncharted territory, stretching the limits of what is possible, while pushing humanity forwards. As business owners pushing forward down here on Earth, we hope you see this blog as inspiration that anything is possible.
1. Space X
They caught the attention of the world when, in 2010, they became the first and only private company to ever return a spacecraft from orbit, which was a hugely significant step in the journey towards full and rapid rocket reusability. They then, in 2012, successfully delivered cargo to and from the International Space Station and have continued to do so ever since on behalf of NASA.
Next on their list and due to lift off in late 2017 is the Falcon Heavy, which is set to be the world’s most powerful rocket by a factor of two. With the same power as approximately eighteen 747 aircraft, the Falcon Heavy has been designed with the aim of carrying humans into space, to the moon again and possibly Mars!
2. Planet Labs
Planet Labs is an Earth imagery provider that has so far launched a total of 101 satellites at a faster rate than any other company or government in history!
Their Dove satellites make up the world’s largest constellation of Earth-imaging satellites and act like a scanner for the whole-Earth. This creates a unique data stream that can help solve the world’s toughest challenges and trigger wide-ranging opportunities.
The optics and sensors of the cameras that are capturing images of the Earth, like the one above, have an amazing resolution capability that can zoom to within 3 to 5 meters of the Earth’s surface from space. Each satellite continuously captures images of the Earth as it completes it’s approximately 90 minute orbit.
The satellites are designed to take advantage of the unobstructed sunlight and are powered by the latest solar panel technology which generates electricity that is then stored in onboard batteries.
Check out the Planet Labs gallery for more incredible images captured from around the Earth’s orbit!
3. Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic is aiming to become the world’s first commercial spaceline making space accessible to more people and for more purposes than ever before. The team is comprised of the best rocket scientists, engineers and designers from aerospace firms including NASA, and other Virgin companies.
It is clearly a hugely challenging undertaking; but through their efforts, they believe they can help to inspire future generations and enable people to see the majesty of our beautiful planet from a new perspective.
A seat to space with Virgin Galactic will cost $250,000 and needs to be paid up front, but if you are ready to become an astronaut and have the funds to match, then you can sign up here! Alternatively, you can use this as a motivation to get those extra deals across the line!
With so many companies and organisations sending satellites and rockets into space, it’s unsurprising that space debris from old satellites and spent rocket stages has built up to the extent that it’s problematic for future space adventurers. The potential danger to all space vehicles, particularly the International Space Station, increases as more fragments from disintegration, erosion, and collisions litter the orbital space around the Earth.
Thankfully, a Singaporean company with Japanese backing called Astroscale is planning to tackle the ever growing issue, by first sending up a tracking satellite to monitor the detritus, then 6 small satellites with adhesive surfaces to start the process of cleaning up the space debris from the main orbital highways. Once deployed the 6 Box shaped satellites will intercept the debris which will stick to the adhesive surfaces before returning to a ‘mothership’.
The concept has been getting serious backing ($43m) as they actively prepare for their first two highly anticipated missions, IDEA OSG 1 and ELSA-d. You can follow their progress here.