Two weeks ago, we said our adieus to 2014. But we wanted to take a moment and reflect on what 2014 accomplished for space commercialization. In 2013, global space activity totaled $314.78B – commercially funded space products and services represented more than three-quarters of total space activity. That only grew in 2014. Many important steps were taken to bring space commercialization to the forefront of the public’s minds:
- Commercial spaceports are being established worldwide
- SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corp. took over the job of delivering cargo to the ISS
- Google leased a former naval airbase for space exploration
- NASA launched the Orion spacecraft – paving the way for human Mars visit
With all that was accomplished in 2014, we are excited to see what will happen in 2015. To kick off the year, SpaceX launched Falcon9 this past Saturday with 5,000 pounds of goodies and critical supplies for the astronauts who will be receiving their belated Christmas packages from family and friends back on Earth. The interesting part of this launch was the ocean-based landing pads SpaceX used for the rocket’s safe return to earth. The goal was to demonstrate SpaceX’s capability and reusability of its rockets. While this did not work as planned, it is just the beginning of what is sure to be a year of new research technologies and further space exploration, as well as commercial companies leading the way in these endeavors.
Currently, NASA is working to make the technologies being developed in space commercially available to government and non-government customers within approximately the next five years. Did you know that some everyday items come from technologies developed in space?
- Medical: Attention Getter – techniques used to measure brain activity in NASA pilots are being used to improve attention spans for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Transportation: Grooved Runways – now applied to highways, this water-draining innovation has led to an astounding 85 percent reduction in highway accidents
- Manufacturing: Self-Advancing Step-Tap Drill – the drill bit advances itself into the work material similar to a screw, eliminating the need to apply external axial force. This unique technology greatly improves the safety and efficiency of handheld drilling while reducing operator fatigue, making it ideal for high-volume and heavy-duty construction applications and home shop use
- Communications: Portable Wireless Booster – originally designed to improve communications for lunar missions, this lightweight, portable device can boost incoming signals to improve local reception for cell phones, laptops, satellite and Wi-Fi internet receivers without the need for power plugs, cables or batteries
- Energy: Solar-Powered Refrigerator System – it eliminates reliance on an electric grid, requires no batteries, and stores thermal energy for efficient use when sunlight is absent. This environmentally friendly system is ideal for use in commercial or household refrigerators, freezers, vaccine coolers, or solar ice-makers. It is particularly ideal for off-grid applications
In 2015, researchers are continuing to develop technologies that will continue to develop and evolve these industries. 2015 will conclude with the launch of SpaceCom in November. We announced earlier this week, that NASA’s Administrator Bolden will keynote the event focusing on the significance of exploring the business of space and its impact across vital market segments of the global economy. We look forward to a wonderful year of furthering space commercialization and it all concluding with new ideas and collaborations coming out of SpaceCom!