If you’re part of the commercial space market, you’ve seen the growth first-hand. Over the summer, there was a panel session during the Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace 2018 conference where it was revealed that multiple sources are predicting that by the 2040s, the global space economy will have grown to more than $1T.

The current space economy is valued between $330 and $350 billion and has been steadily growing at 6 to 8% (compounded annually) for the last decade. During the conference, moderator Jeff Matthews, a Specialist Leader with Deloitte, noted several studies that suggest a $1T space economy is imminent.

While there are endless uses and applications for space technology, the existing numbers can be attributed to a few sources. One study that was released in June from the Satellite Industry Association found that of the total economic value, $269B can be directly associated with the satellite economy. When you consider the uses, the public sector and communications industry appear to be the key players here.

During the panel discussion, there was some skepticism brought forward with these speculations and estimates. Some experts feel that without something new, some type of “inception point”, this type of growth just isn’t realistic. While some argued the continued growth would require focus on human spaceflight and commercial space stations, others were more focused on the potential of data usage.

Sunil Nagaraj, managing partner at Ubiquity Ventures, stated that he feels this continued growth will come from “downstream applications”, as opposed to actual space systems. He went on to say that he believes the real potential exists with businesses and organizations who will use the data collected from space technologies within their own applications, stating, “More easy-to-understand, down-to-Earth applications of space is actually what’s going to drive this, in my opinion, versus pushing more satellites.”

Data from satellites

Continuing along the conversation of satellites representing the bulk of this industry, and potentially the biggest opportunity for growth, no one can deny that right now, the data collected from satellites is fueling countless applications we use in our daily lives. Ride-sharing, weather, and maps are perfect examples of how space technology can be applied to apps and businesses in the real world. As the space industry continues to be democratized, there’s now room for startups, Universities, and developing countries to join the party.

Here at Dcode, our first space cohort is well underway and all 6 of our emerging tech companies are developing real solutions that will be instrumental in driving this industry forward. As always, we’re interested in how private tech companies can impact government on a global scale.

Our current program members are:

Infinite Composites Technologies (ICT), designs, develops, and manufactures advanced composite pressure vessels and structures.

Kepler Communications develops next-generation satellite communication technologies and provides global data backhaul services for wideband and IoT applications.

Metamaterial Technologies Inc. (MTI) is a smart materials and photonics company specializing in metamaterial research, nanofabrication, and computational electromagnetics.

RBC Signals is a satellite communication technology company. It aggregates the unused capacity of existing satellite ground stations around the world.

Slingshot Aerospace is a cutting-edge leader in providing the next generation of signal processing AI.

Tacit was founded to author, deploy, and enable intelligent software on industrial mobile computing devices and emerging wearable headsets.

We look forward to seeing these incredible technologies develop as the global space economy continues to grow, expand, and change how the world operates.