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From Space X to Virgin Galactic, private players are rushing to position themselves on activities around the space world. Whether it is to provide Internet to the whole world like Starlink, to have Datacenters in orbit with Cloud Constellation or even to go live on the Moon, the aerospace world has been in turmoil for 2 years with the arrival of a multitude of private actors. 

The fact

The acceleration is being felt at trade shows such as CES, Web Summit or SXSW with more and more startups positioning themselves in this market. Startups for cleaning debris in orbit around the Earth or for the purchase of nanosatellites.

The next step is for industrial production to be moved into space as with fibre optic cables, which are difficult to handle on Earth because of gravity.

The same is true for the production of body tissue, which is much simpler in a microgravity environment. This was achieved in October 2019 with the production of bovine muscle cells on the International Space Station. This project was carried out with the startup Aleph Farms and the 3D bioprinter manufactured by Bioprinting Solutions. We would then have “Made in Space” steaks, which would reduce deforestation in favour of animal breeding.

Beyond a possible space tourism, it is especially about suborbital flights which would make it possible to make a Paris – Sydney in 2h30 of time. These flights would then make it possible to create a new paradigm for international travel.

The decoding

The aerospace innovation currently under way is redefining the scope of what is possible and the ways in which mankind will live for the next few decades.

Space can provide solutions to climate change. For example, data in space will no longer need to consume electricity to cool down (the temperature of a satellite in orbit is -120°C when it is hidden from the sun) and industrial production moved to the Moon would avoid polluting the Earth and its living ecosystem. Given the falling cost of putting satellites into orbit, some experts predict that this is economically feasible in less than 30 years. Similarly, part of the agricultural production could be moved off-shore and thus reduce the ecological impact of agriculture on Earth. 

A space activity that will have to be controlled and reasoned about so as not to create a heap of orbital waste. This problem will become a real economic, scientific and potentially health issue within the next ten years or so.

Of course, this may sound like science fiction, but the time scale is accelerating on these subjects. NASA estimates that in 10 years it will be able to send a human being to Mars. In fact, China has announced that by 2030 it will be one of the world’s leading aerospace powers. In 2019, in the Gobi Desert, China tested its project for a space station on Mars… And on April 24, 2020, the China National Space Administration unveiled that the mission to conquer Mars will be called “Tianwen 1″. The project is taking shape and becoming more and more concrete in China.

After the Moon between the United States and the USSR, a new space cold war seems to be taking shape between China and the Americans for the conquest of Mars this time?

More generally, it seems that the future of the planet and of humanity lies in a boom in space activity. Everything remains to be done and the opportunities are growing for the next 50 years!

As an expert in emerging technologies, Nicolas travels to innovation shows around the world to spot and analyse the new trends.
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